Inquest Begins After Escape From Central Prison

North Cyprus News - Alexander Satlaev - Prisoner EscapesAn inquest has been launched into how Russian national Alexander Satlaev managed to escape from the Central Prison in Nicosia.

Reportedly, the security cameras are not functioning and the observation towers are unmanned. Overcrowding and the poor physical condition of the building were blamed.

The leader of the Prison Officers Union, Salih Kayalı stated that after Alexander Satlaev’s escape, many shortcomings had surfaced at the prison again and said, “We must learn from what happened. The security cameras do not work”, he said, pointing to the problems in the physical infrastructure of the prison.

Meanwhile, the head of KTAMS, one of the organised trade unions in the prison, blamed the government. “The prisoners and detainees were abandoned to their fate together with those working in the prison“, he said.  

According to sources, Satlaev had been detained in prison for 17 months, and his file remained incomplete.

Satlaev entered the country on 19 August, 2019 with a tourist visa.

He was arrested for robbery and assault in Kyrenia in September 2019. So shortly after Satlaev entered the country, he committed a crime.

After a 15-day investigation by the Kyrenia Police Department, Satlaev denied the charges against him in court on September 22, 2019, and was sent to prison as a detainee.

The head of the Prison Officers Association, Salih Kayalı, stated that the number of prisoners and detainees in the prison has increased steadily for years and pointed to the “full capacity” and “decay of the physical structure” as the worst problems.

Noting that some measures were also taken due to the pandemic, Kayalı said, “The counts hearing were also reduced in terms of minimising contact, considering the health of the prisoners and detainees. During this time, we took measures so that the prisoners and the guards coming from outside were not in contact too much”, he said.

The new state prison constructed in Minareliköy has been completed but no transfers have been made as yet because the Prime Ministry has not passed the Prison Organisation Law which includes the requirement of hiring more staff for the new prison.

Lawyer Öncel Polili noted that under any circumstances, a person should not remain on remand for more than three months.

Noting that if there is no complicated element in the case, there is nothing that cannot be addressed within a reasonable time frame, Polili said, “A lawsuit may take three or five years. But after the trial begins, the parties have witnesses, the process gets longer. I don’t think there is anything complicated in Alexander Satlaev’s case, it is not right to extend [detention] that much”, he said.

Satalaev has been placed in solitary confinement for the next six weeks as punishment for his escape.


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