01 July 2020
KISA, a human rights organisation based in Cyprus, was recently convicted by the Supreme Court of “defamation” and “harmful forgery” over a 2010 document calling on the government to rescind the appointment of Christos Clerides and Xenis Xenofontos to the Management Board of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
Support our work: become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.
"The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Cyprus.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) about the sentencing of KISA, an NGO that works for the rights of migrants and denounces cases of racism and hate speech.
According to the information received, on June 5, 2020 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Cyprus sentenced KISA to pay a fine of EUR 10.000 for damages to Mr. Christos Clerides. The organisation was found guilty of the crimes of “defamation” and “harmful forgery” in relation to a document drafted in 2010 calling the Government of Cyprus to terminate the appointment of Mr. Christos Clerides and Mr. Xenis Xenofontos to the Management Board of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The decision of the Supreme Court has been appealed.
In the draft petition, KISA denounced that the blog “Christofias Watch” incited hatred and violence against Mr. Makarios Drousiotis, a prominent journalist that defends the peaceful resolution of the Cyprus problem and documents the rise of right-wing extremism in the island. The organisation underlined that the administrator of the blog was Mr. Xenis Xenofontos and his lawyer, who gave an interview to “Christofias-Watch”, Mr. Christos Clerides. At the time, Mr. Xenis Xenofontos and Mr. Christos Clerides where the alternate member and member, respectively, of the Republic of Cyprus of the FRA Management Board. KISA underlined that individuals inciting violence against people with a different opinion than their own were not qualified to represent the Republic of Cyprus at the FRA and thus called the Government of Cyprus to replace them.
Even though the joint petition was not public and was never sent to the FRA, a journalist leaked the document to Mr. Clerides, who filed a libel suit against KISA together with Mr. Xenofontos. After his appointment as a judge, Mr. Xenofontos withdrew the complaint; however, the judicial proceedings against KISA remained opened for 10 years until the organisation was finally convicted on June 5, 2020."
FIDH and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders are calling for people to write to the government of Cyprus. More information here: Cyprus: Sentencing of KISA, an NGO working for the rights of migrants (FIDH, link)
Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.
Statewatch does not have a corporate view, nor does it seek to create one, the views expressed are those of the author. Statewatch is not responsible for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement. Registered UK charity number: 1154784. Registered UK company number: 08480724. Registered company name: The Libertarian Research & Education Trust. Registered office: MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH. © Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals "fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.