Journalist claims police are trying to gag him

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Makarios Drousiotis, a Cypriot investigative journalist who has written books on corruption in government, claims the police are trying to silence him.

Drousiotis, who served as an advisor to President Nicos Anastasiades from March 2013 to October 2014, reported having been contacted by a lawyer representing four police officers requesting he withdraws a book on corruption naming his clients.

The four officers are stationed at the police cybercrime division.

“The entire book, in particular the chapters “Deposition to the police” and “Rigged probe,” do not reflect the facts,” the lawyer of the four policemen said in a letter.

The chapters in question are from Drousiotis’ latest book, published in October 2022, titled the Mafia State, the latest in his trilogy about the alleged widespread graft among the political and financial elite.

“Our clients are presented as immoral, part of a mafia state, a description that is absolutely false, unfounded and offensive,” the letter claimed.

In a statement, Drousiotis said that instead of looking into corruption claims in his books, the police are finding ways to silence him through legal action.

“Three months after the release of the book Mafia State, members of the police demand its withdrawal from bookstores!

“In the book, I record the monitoring of my communications and refer to the complaint of the case to the Electronic Crime Branch of the Police,” said Drousiotis.

He noted the four police officers are demanding compensation for damages while threatening to file a lawsuit for libel if he does not comply.

Drousiotis said that two and half years on, police investigations into his complaint produced zero results.

“The four policemen are unlikely to have taken this step without coordinating it with their bosses.”

He said he had received death threats since publishing the first book while his communication devices were hacked.

According to the author, the difficulties started before the 2020 publication of “The Gang,” the trilogy’s first book exposing how, during the 2013 banking crisis, the political elite rejected a European bailout package to protect the interests of the Kremlin.

His second book, “Crime in Crans Montana,” depicts how President Nicos Anastasiades allegedly walked out of the 2017 talks on Cyprus reunification.

Anastasiades had said in a November interview that he had contemplated filing for libel.

“I never did so to avoid being accused of attempting to gag the press.

“But I am reconsidering my stance because it’s impossible for me to tolerate this smear”.

Earlier in December, a Nicosia court dismissed a libel suit by an IT expert whom Drousiotis hired to install protective software on his computer.

As the writer claims, the expert installed spyware on behalf of the government intelligence service.

Asked to comment, police spokesperson Christos Andreou said that the force is not involved.

“They are some of our members, who, like every citizen in the Republic, have every right to protect their rights when they are violated”.