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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Talk of semi-private prison under BOT system ]

Talk of semi-private prison under BOT system

Author: 
Stefanos Evripidou

THE GOVERNMENT is considering the building of a new prison to replace the current overcrowded one based on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) proposal, said Justice Minister Loucas Louca yesterday.
Louca said he would present the study to cabinet once completed. The BOT scheme would allow the private company to build modern prison facilities, and take charge of providing food for the prisoners and maintenance of the prison while security will be handled by the state. 
The Central Prison has long been operating beyond its maximum capacity with various efforts made to expand the various wings of the prison over the years. However, work on the prison has been slow while a string of crimes and attempted criminal acts that were linked to people serving life sentences in the prison has put the spotlight once again on the facility. One lifer has been accused of plotting to assassinate the Attorney-general while the most recent theft of the body of the former president Tassos Papadopoulos has been linked to a plan allegedly hatched behind bars. Specifically, one inmate, convicted rapist and murderer Antonis Prokopiou Kitas, his brother Mamas Kitas and an Indian national are currently being investigated for their alleged involvement in the theft. 
According to yesterday’s Phileleftheros, there are currently 675 inmates in the Central prison, originally made to house 340 people. From the inmates, 126 are awaiting trial, 139 were convicted for property crimes, 137 for drugs, 73 for crimes against individuals and 33 for sex crimes. There are currently 17 lifers and 297 males serving sentences over two years long.
The same paper said public works to expand wings one and two of the prison are way over budget and still ongoing despite starting years ago. In contrast, the renovation of wings five and eight were taken on by a private company and completed on time.
Regarding investigations on the theft of the former president’s body, Louca said given the information police have, the masterminds of the crime are in custody. He would not rule out more arrests, if new information should appear, but as things stand, the three main suspects believed to be involved in the case are in custody.  “This talk of foreign intervention and foreign services is pure imagination,” said Louca.
The daughter of Papadopoulos, Anastasia raised question marks on Monday when she told Sigma TV that many questions remained unanswered for her, especially regarding regarding the events of December 11, 2009, when the body was stolen.
“I have not been convinced by the testimonies to date, and for me, the case has not been solved,” she reportedly said.
She also questioned whether Kitas and his brother were the real “masterminds” and what the real motives of the perpetrators were. “I want to see the real masterminds brought to justice,” she said. The Indian national was a man in despair who wanted help to leave the country, she added. The man is believed to have requested money from the family in exchange for showing them where the body was buried. 
EVROKO leader Demetris Syllouris also said the current scenario did not sound logical: “Things don’t match up at the moment. What motives did Kitas have, to seek favours from the government? There was no ransom. Why don’t they tell us?”   
The minister’s response was that it was the police that had the full picture, nopt others. “Unless Ms Anastassia Papadopoulos or Mr Syllouris have more information in which case they should tell the police,” he said.
Asked whether the people behind the crime were in custody, he said “police believe yes they are”.
On the motives, the minister said he believed Kitas was biding his time, waiting for the right moment to make his demands. Asked whether this involved money or favours, he said now was not the time to publicly discuss motives but that things would become clearer in time.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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