Claims of conspiracy in Prisongate

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Prisons governor Anna Aristotelous has accused investigators looking into inmates using drugs and mobile phones of colluding with police to fabricate testimonies against her.

The accusations come under another wave of recent scandals shaking Nicosia’s central prisons.

Talking to CyBC radio, Aristotelous said that two independent investigators tasked with producing a report on drug and mobile phone use in the prisons have colluded with police officers to obtain fabricated testimonies.

The prison’s governor said that she reported her allegations to the anti-corruption authority.

Aristotelous conceded that mobile phone and drug use within the prisons still occurs, although significant progress has been made in reducing their prevalence.

The decision to probe the use of drugs and mobile phones came after a ringleader serving five life sentences was given another 40 years for being the mastermind behind two murder attempts despite being in jail.

The probe is one of two investigations, with the second involving accusations against a high-ranking officer allegedly plotting to blackmail Aristotelous.

Michalis Katsounotos, then head of the drugs squad, is accused of conspiring with an inmate to secure damaging footage of the governor to blackmail her and her deputy, Athena Demetriou.

Attorney-General George Savvides appointed lawyer Achilleas Emilianides to carry out a criminal investigation into allegations made by the central prisons’ chief and her deputy,

The first report’s findings were handed to Savvides last week, with Aristotelous’ legal advisors claiming that it vindicates the governor.

Aristotelous is a popular figure for her prison reform zeal, and staff have come out to support her.

The scandal surfaced after Aristotelous accused the senior police officer of allegedly recruiting an inmate serving a long sentence on a drug conviction in a plot to harm her career.

She claimed the officer communicated with the inmate inside the prison through a mobile phone using an app to get a video of her ‘personal life’ that also implicated her deputy.