Liberal and Democrat group leader in European Parliament demands immediate release of MEP
Surprised and disturbed at the news of the arrest of an ALDE MEP in his own country by British military police whilst on a parliamentary delegation visit to Akrotiri in Cyprus, Graham Watson MEP and ALDE group leader called for his immediate release.
"It is certainly not normal practice to go around arresting Members of Parliament, even those who demonstrate for a cause they strongly believe in," said Watson. "I insist that my colleague be released immediately."
"I see no benefit to the British Government in arresting Mr. Matsakis which only serves to draw more attention to the cause he is seeking to highlight, namely that EU law on parliamentary immunity for MEPs does not seem to apply in one part of the EU territory."
"The British military authorities in Cyprus are shooting themselves in the proverbial foot."
Marios Matsakis was part of an official delegation of Parliament's environment committee. ALDE environment committee spokesman and British MEP, Chris Davies remarked:
"By their actions the British ministry of defence have made a mountain out of a molehill."
"Many observers will sympathise with the issue being raised by Dr. Matsakis that it is a serious anomaly in the 21st century, and after 50 years of EU integration, that villages in one Member State are still in actual fact under the military rule of another."
"This is a colonial relic that should be placed in the dustbin of history."