Tuesday, 15 March, 2022.
Prison officers are demanding that the government address the staff shortages at Nicosia Central Prison and that it begins transferring prisoners to the new prison building in Minarelikoy, which was completed one year ago yet still remains unoccupied, Yeniduzen reports.
Standing in front of the Central Prison in Nicosia the head of KTAMS union Güven Bengihan said the following:
“Today, we are again in front of the Central Prison gate. Our problems are still the same. The unfavourable conditions of the prison, the inability to keep up with the increasing number of crimes and criminals due to the lack of both buildings and personnel… Our friends are experiencing difficulties in terms of both security and health. While reintegrating prisoners into society should be one of the main aims of the prison, this place now trains more criminals. He also learns about the different types of crime …..and comes out as a more criminal person. The guard colleagues here are uncomfortable with this. We came to this gate many times, we took action, but the irresponsible people were not moved to the new prison building”.
The union leaders pointed out that although the new prison building had been completed one year ago, the Ministry of the Interior had not yet taken over the new building
He said: “The new prison building was built by paying 118 million dollars. However, the camera systems, computer systems and infrastructure in it are currently idle. Isn’t it a pity for the money spent? This is irresponsible. There are guards who do not remain silent about this, and we are here as their union fighting with them. We want a modern prison. On the other hand, the new prison building was not received, and the new prison organisation law was not discussed and put into effect due to the elections. This is also a big shortcoming”.
Foreign Inmates Mostly Students
Emphasising the number of foreign students in the prison, Bengihan said: “Out of 191 foreign national prisoners, 113 were students. Our university bosses complain about their students being insulted, but those who come to the country under the name of student and get involved in drug and prostitution trade and money laundering are walking around as students. We ask the government to pay attention to these as well. Anyone holding a student ID should not enter the country. These warnings should be heeded”.
Regarding the recent cost of living increases, Bengihan said that working people can barely afford to get to work because of the rising fuel costs. This affects not only workers but the retired and workers on low pay.
“These hikes are a great injustice. “People are now working only for gasoline and electricity,” he said.