KISA PRESS RELEASE: On 5 June 2012, the Larnaca District Court issued its verdict on the prosecution of Doros Polykarpou, KISA’s Executive Director, with the charge of “rioting” in relation to the attack by extreme right and neo-nazi elements against the Rainbow Festival at the Phinikoudes beach in Larnaca, in November 2010. 18 months later, the Larnaca District Court acquitted Doros Polykarpou as the prosecution failed to prove the commitment of any criminal offence by KISA’s Executive Director. In its decision, the Court did not accept the testimony of the police officers-who were witnesses of the prosecution, pointing out its inconsistencies and unreliability. On the contrary, the Court found Doros Polykarpou’s testimony to be reliable and consistent with what is recorded on the video that was shown in Court, demonstrating what exactly took place during those sad and violent events in 2010, as the Court itself described them.
The decision most officially and unequivocally rejected the allegations of the state and certain political circles that KISA and its Executive Director were responsible for the violent events in Larnaca. KISA welcomes the Court’s decision, which once more confirms the systematic persecution of the Organisation and its Executive Director by the state, since there was in fact no shred of evidence for Doros Polykarpou’s prosecution. The lack of evidence and unwarranted prosecution were repeatedly raised with the Attorney General by KISA and all the European and international organisations and networks, which supported and still support KISA with tenacity and persistence against the attempts of its criminalisation and silencing while defending the rights of migrants and refugees, to no avail.
The decision of the Court also proves the legitimate and justified request of KISA and the above mentioned organisations to the Attorney General for the suspension of Doros Polykarpou’s prosecution. The Attorney General repeatedly refused to meet representatives of these organisations on the pretext that the case was pending in Court, while even today, after the Court’s verdict, he again refused to meet them.
In the light of the Court decision and the acquittal of its Executive Director, KISA calls on the state again to:
1. end all prosecution against KISA and its members and to recognise, respect and support the Organisation’s action;
2. at last proceed with an independent investigation regarding the events of the 2010 Rainbow Festival in Larnaca and the responsibilities of the Police;
3. withdraw all charges and suspend all prosecutions of Festival participants who were attacked by members of extreme right and neo-nazi organisations, and from which attacks the Police failed to protect them;
4. investigate and prosecute those who, motivated by racial hatred, truly committed violent offences of grievous bodily harm to Festival goers; and
5. investigate and prosecute extreme right and neo-nazi organisations for their xenophobic and racist slogans and discourse in general because they constitute a criminal offence.
KISA would like to take this opportunity to express its appreciation and gratitude to all persons, activists and international and European agencies and bodies for their interest, concern and solidarity with KISA and its Executive Director, but especially to the European and international NGO Networks that through their initiative spearheaded this solidarity at European level.
KISA would like to express its appreciation for the impartial and fair judgement of the Court as well as to its lawyer, Mr Elias Stephanou, for the excellent handling of the case.
5 June 2012