A notorious convict at Nicosia Central Prison is suing the island's correctional facility over the alleged subhuman treatment he has suffered behind bars.
According to Politis newspaper, Andreas Onoufriou, 63, claims he is a victim of physical torture and inhuman living conditions while his family was subjected to humiliating treatment by staff during prison visits.
The convict has already filed a private prosecution with the Legal Services against standing prison director George Tryfonides, and prison guards Lazaros Lazarou, Solomos Solomou and Andreas Ellinas, who has recently retired.
Onoufriou says he holds them responsible for nearly dying of hypothermia during the winter months of 2011 when a power outage left the prison without heating overnight.
He further claims that along with other convicts, he suffered heat exhaustion on two separate occasions in 2011 and 2012 when power outages knocked out the prison's air conditioning systems.
In addition, the lawsuit claims that Onoufriou was physically tortured by guards on several occasions between 2010 and 2012, after being transferred to wing 4 of the facility.
The convict also maintains that on July 4, 2011 his sister and wife and 14-year-old daughter were illegally detained by guards in a cell during a visit to the prison.
He claims his child and relatives were psychologically scarred by the ordeal.
It should be noted that Onoufriou attempted to launch criminal proceedings against the prison's management in the past but the case was postponed by former Attorney General Petros Klerides. The AG at the time said there was evidence to suggest Onoufriou had been unfairly treated, but ordered that he file a complaint with the police before any legal proceedings could be launched. Onoufriou objected saying that as Tryfonides is a former high-ranking police official, his complaint would likely be examined by officers who had previously worked with him and would therefore not take it seriously.
The case is now set to be reviewed by the Nicosia District Court on March 4.
Onoufriou is considered by the authorities to be an extremely high-risk prisoner.
He was originally handed an 18-year sentence for the attempted murder of a Limassol judge and his daughter in 1996 but has since been implicated and convicted of other offences committed while behind bars.
In 2010, Onoufriou along with another man, escaped from a police holding cell in Paralimni where he had been temporarily transferred in line with an investigation into a firearm seizure. He was recaptured within a week.
Later in January 2013, the convict was implicated in a plot to assassinate former Attorney General Petros Klerides.
He was questioned along with two other men after police received a tip-off that they planned to assassinate the AG with a light anti-tank weapon.