27 March 2014 09:28

Police have warned that paramilitary training and involvement in private militias constitute serious criminal offences that carry heavy penalties.
Speaking to The Cyprus Daily, police spokesman Andreas Angelides confirmed the announcement was made in order to clear up any ambiguity on the issue.
"Following a consultation with the Attorney General the police leadership has decided to issue an announcement on this matter. The law regarding paramilitary training is not well known in Cyprus so the police decided to clarify that such organisations are illegal as is any involvement in them."
The spokesman said authorities are concerned over reports of paramilitary training in Cyprus and are closely monitoring the matter.
According to article 55 of the penal code, persons who assemble as a military-style
organisation, without the approval of Cabinet, for the purpose of practising training with weapons face a prison sentence of up to five years in jail.
According to the authorities a paramilitary organisation in this context is any group which is not governed by the state and trains persons with the intent to cause civil disorder.
An investigation was launched in September following claims by opposition party Akel that fascist groups on the island were operating military-style training camps.
Akel General Secretary Andros Kyprianou passed on to police a number of photographs of what appeared to be newly recruited members of fascist organisations receiving organised military training in unknown camps in Cyprus. To date no arrests have been made in the case.


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