Suspects’ privacy to be respected

Intrusive television crews and photographers who take footage of crime suspects without their consent will be liable to arrest under a court circular issued yesterday, based on a law of 1993 that has been flagrantly ignored by police and media alike. According to yesterday’s circular signed by prosecutor Sotiris Bayias, police will henceforth be responsible for ensuring that suspects are not photographed or filmed against their will at any point following their arrest and until they are found guilty in court. Officers must arrest media employees caught breaking the law – for which the punishment is up to two years’ imprisonment – and confiscate their equipment. Media will be fined for broadcasting images of suspects who did not want their faces shown. «[Violations of the 1993 law] constitute an offense against the basic principles of a fair trial, the presumption of innocence as well as our legal culture,» the circular said. «Public viewing of suspects on television is a form of informal conviction.»