Seven to stand trial for prison killing

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Four inmates and three prison officers will stand trial for the murder of 41-year-old Turkish Cypriot Tansu Cidan, who was brutally beaten to death in his cell on October 27.

The Nicosia Criminal Court on Friday ordered four prisoners remain in custody until the start of the trial set for December 20.

The three prison guards were released on conditional bail of €20,000.

One of the four prisoners is the main suspect, reportedly a convict of Kurdish origin doing time for a drug case has been charged with premeditated murder.

The other three inmates are charged with manslaughter, possession of methamphetamine, and other illegal drugs.

Two of the three prison guards face charges of manslaughter, dereliction of duty and causing death by negligence, while the third is charged with neglecting his official duty and causing death by negligence.

According to evidence obtained by police, the prime suspect allegedly had an active role in Cidan’s murder and the violent incident a day before the killing.

A sharp object allegedly used to kill Cidan was found in the possession of the prime suspect.

Nicosia Prison officials say Cidan was beaten to death by inmates on October 27, sometime after the 5 pm roll call.

One officer reportedly said he had seen the inmate a day earlier without any physical marks on his body.

However, other testimonies and security footage reveal that Cidan had been beaten some 36 hours before he was found dead.

Cidan was serving a long-term sentence for multiple crimes, including eight years for possessing a large quantity of drugs.

He was arrested in April for drug possession with intent to supply.

The government has made no official comment about the incident on how such a crime could take place in the central prisons.

But Attorney General George Savvides expressed his deep concern over how the island’s central prisons are run.

“The measures taken by the Central Prison Management are neither sufficient nor effective and result in an uncontrolled and extremely dangerous situation that poses risks to the safety and lives of people inside and outside the Prison, with serious implications for public order,” said Savvides.