Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis said police acted “disproportionately” when looking into her complaint against a Twitter parody account, but later clarified it was not meant as a criticism.
In comments to state radio CyBC on Wednesday, the minister said she was saddened by the fact police raided a home and acted disproportionately to her complaint of an online tweet about her father which she found offensive.
Yiolitis came under fire for reporting the Twitter parody account of her which led to the police raid of a Larnaca woman’s home thought to be behind the tweets.
And public opinion voiced its disapproval of hunting down a parody account.
Yiolitis insisted that she was justified, as an ordinary citizen, in reporting the account to the police because it posted a photo of her father with degrading comments.
“The account was up and running for some time before that. I complained because they posted a photo of my father.
“I consider the family to be sacred and I will protect it. I had to protect my father, a man who was never in the public eye,” Yiolitis told CyBC radio on Wednesday.
She agreed that politicians should be tolerant, “but it is very different to see a photo of our father” arguing the account had crossed the moral line.
Although Yiolitis did not agree with the woman’s home being raided, she issued a statement after her interview saying it shouldn’t be construed as a criticism of the police.
She appeared to blame CyBC’s story “headline” for implying she blamed the police in any way.
The case emerged when police secured a search warrant for the home of the woman allegedly behind the parody account, confiscating several electronic devices as evidence.
Later the devices were returned to the woman, a teacher, as officers found no evidence implicating her to the parody account.
The woman then filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to have the search warrant invalid, which she won and plans to file for compensation.
The case sparked a public outcry with legal experts accusing the minister of abusing her power while also questioning the police’s zeal and ease with which they secured a search warrant.
Observers have suggested the warrant should have never been granted by the court, as a search warrant is only issued for crimes that entail a prison sentence of more than five years.
A leaked document showed police were investigating forgery and personal data offences, but also a parody account on social media, following a complaint by Yiolitis.
Yiolitis was asked by reporters to comment on the case during an anti-corruption press conference last month with President Nicos Anastasiades.
“Any questions on the matter are addressed to the government. I am the President and I have appointed Ms Yiolitis as the Justice Minister.
“I have trust in her and there is no question of assuming any responsibility,” intervened Anastasiades.
Justice Ministry press officer Rona Michaelidou told the Financial Mirror that what the minister was trying to say in her radio interview is that it may be time for the state to revise its response to such cases.
“By no means was the minister implying that the police is to blame, as it acted by the rules,” said Michaelidou.