A British wedding singer living in Cyprus with her family who was arrested and faced a GBP-3,000 fine for calling a local politician “useless” in a Facebook post has won a legal victory.
The arrest of Kaela Charalampous, 35, sparked outrage with civil rights groups pointing out that arrest warrants should only be used for criminal offences.
Kaela, who goes by the stage name Kaela Santosh, lives in the village of Mandria, in the Paphos District of Cyprus.
She was arrested in front of her young child for describing Kypros Michaelides, the community leader of Mandria village, as “useless” and said he had “no chance” of being reelected.
She was later released and charges relating to the warrant were dropped at the end of April, but she was never given an apology, and the British organisation Justice Abroad requested a judicial review of the arrest warrant that was issued on 16th April by the Paphos District Court.
Kaela, who is originally from Liverpool, had lived in Cyprus for 14 years with a husband and her son aged four and said that she was forced to issue a public apology in both English and Greek following the slander charges linked in with the arrest warrant as well as claims of defamation of character and issuing insults.
Mrs Charalampous wrote on Facebook: “Well well well. So much for freedom of speech. I have been arrested and charged today for expressing an opinion about a local MP in a public forum.
“I am not going to speak about the details as hopefully, they are going to do the right thing and drop the charges so will just say this…
“I didn’t know that using the word ‘USELESS’ was an arrestable offence!
“This is not a joke.”
However the charges have now been struck down by the Supreme Court in Cyprus, attributing that information to Justice Abroad, who have continued to provide Kaela with legal advice.
Michael Polak from Justice Abroad said: “We are very pleased to learn that the Supreme Court of Cyprus has agreed that the arrest warrant issued against our client is unlawful.
“However, this cannot be the end of the matter. It is worrying that the police applied for this warrant given that it is clear that no criminal offence is disclosed by the Facebook comment and an inquiry as to how this took place is needed.”