14 January 2014 11:28

A prison official and seven guards were suspended with two more set to follow.
The suspensions were part of a series of measures announced by Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou after a weekend unrest at the prisons prompted by the alleged gang rape of a young inmate and several suicide attempts.
In a statement, Nicolaou said that the measures were “only part of the government’s collective policy” which will be announced today.
The minister said the measures would be effective immediately and that priority would be given to assuring they were implemented.
They include a Nicosia CID taskforce investigating criminal responsibility in the two recent suicides and abuse of an inmate and the July 18 and August 15 suicides.
Law Office officials will also be investigating the same cases to ensure transparency and objectivity, reporting within 30 days.
A MMAD police rapid response unit will maintain a presence and be responsible for the monitoring of all prison areas. The exclusive responsibility for handling the prison’s CCTV system has also been given to MMAD which will, in addition, temporarily search prison staff as they arrive at and leave work.
Prison staff will have to hand over information on their family’s assets and prison wing inspectors will be encouraged to better communicate with inmates.
Nicolaou also announced several measures for improved accommodation for prisoners in accordance with the severity of their sentence while those behind bars for debts will be moved to an open prison, amongst other planned action.


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