Following my personal story of being forced to the police station for petty court fines, I am sorry to report that the rough arrest of a Brazilian woman is spreading fears and concerns over abuse of power by the police.
The wife of Luís Carlos Eneas da Conceição Lima, a Brazilian footballer for Doxa, was handcuffed by undercover police in Nicosia on January 17th. The whole shameful incident was filmed by a passerby from the time she was picked up off the road by the police en route to her children’s primary school.
In reaction to the incident, people are calling into the public fora like Kanali 6 radio station. One caller speaking in Greek said she was afraid she would be arrested while getting her driver’s license because her Greek isn’t fluent. It’s a slippery slope between respect for the police and fear of police abuse.
My case is being investigated by the authority responsible for investigating the police. Every citizen has the right to freedom and security of person according to Article 11 of the Cyprus Constitution and being detained in an abusive manner breaches this right. I am satisfied they take it seriously and that there are checks and balances.
It is strange that just as elections appear on the horizon, two high-profile women with foreign names were harassed for minor things. Sounds paranoid, but that’s the effect of abuse of power, it spreads fear, not just for me and Mrs. Luis Carlos but for many people. This is not, however, the role of the police to spread fear, it is to protect public safety.
Even the slightest abuse of power leads to cracks in the rule of law and respect for human rights. The police claim they are just carrying out orders but whose orders? I want to know who is behind it and why it was done in such an unnecessarily abusive manner, that’s what I told the investigating authority.
This is a democracy, not a police state. I strongly protest any infringements on our universal and legal rights to freedom.