Naval Base Blast: Evidence Tampering at Foreign Ministry
A foreign ministry employee has reportedly admitted to police that she tampered with a classified document to falsely show that ex-Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou was concerned over the safety of the 98 containers which exploded at Evangelos Florakis base on July 11th.
According to a report in Politis newspaper, the employee was ordered to add a paragraph to the minutes of a meeting held in February 11th at the foreign ministry. The paragraph was: "The foreign minister asked everyone to focus on safety and for a study about the stability of the munitions."
The documents and the woman's testimony are in the hands of investigators at Nicosia's police headquarters. In a statement to Sigma TV, Kyprianou denied any knowledge of evidence tampering.
In other developments, Commodore Andreas Ioannou's family have called on Attorney-general Petros Clerides to resign and for independent criminal investigators to be assigned to the case. Ioannou was one of the 13 men killed in the explosion.
In a statement, the family said that the attorney-general is not acting fast enough and that people directly responsible for the explosion have not been arrested. So far, four fire department officials and three army officers have been suspended from duty.
On July 11th, the gunpowder and nitroglycerine in the 98 containers confiscated from Iran blew up, killing 13 men and injuring 62. There has been a public outcry in the four weeks since the explosion. Protestors are demanding that President Christofias step down and take responsibility for the accident. The entire Council of Ministers resigned and there was a reshuffle which replaced Kyprianou with Erato Kazoullis-Marcoulis.
An investigation into the deadly blast is expected to wrap up by the end of September amid skepticism from the legal community and citizens' groups that it will be unbiased or bring the people who are really responsible to justice.