31 January 2014 19:51

NICOSIA - President Nicos Anastasiades has granted a series of presidential pardons, effectively releasing 56 inmates and reducing the sentence of another 85, as part of sweeping measures to combat overcrowding at the Nicosia Central Prisons.
An announcement by the Presidential Palace on Friday confirmed that the pardons were mainly aimed at foreign nationals and those imprisoned on drug related charges.
“Due to the problems at the Nicosia Central Prisons and in particular the problem of overcrowding, the President of the Republic – after consultations with both the Attorney General of the Republic and the Deputy Attorney General of the Republic – moved towards reducing the sentences for inmates and releasing others.”
Those imprisoned for more serious offences such as crimes of a sexual nature, manslaughter and premeditated murder were not eligible for a presidential pardon.

The presidential pardons saw:
- A reduction in sentence for non-Cypriot inmates who are far away from their families and not eligible for the state inmate community work program.
- A 25% reduction in the sentence for inmates who had not received the general presidential pardon for March 5, 2013 because they had yet to be sentenced during that period.
- A 20% reduction in the sentence for inmates who were jailed in excess of five years, but not more than ten years, for drug related offences and who had not received the general presidential pardon for March 5, 2013. Inmates sentenced on drug related offences in excess of ten years will see one year taken off their sentence.

Meanwhile, the announcement also stipulated that “non-Cypriot inmates jailed for illegal entry in Cyprus will be released with immediate affect including those inmates incarcerated for the same offences and who had already been granted a reduction in sentence.”
A criminal and disciplinary investigation is underway against the former prison governor and some prison guards following rioting at the island’s prison facility earlier this month. These riots were prompted by a series of suicides by inmates prompted by what many have described as appalling conditions and treatment within the prison compound in Nicosia.





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