No Charges for Songbird-Eater MP

NICOSIA – A Cypriot lawmaker who posted himself on Facebook about to eat protected songbirds won’t be prosecuted, Attorney General Costas Clerides said.

He said that ruling DISY party MP Evgenios Hamboullas was wrong to put his behavior on social media but declined to go after him.

“The behaviour of this particular MP is condemnable on the one hand and will be judged by the public and not by the court in the event of an immunity lift,” Clerides said, in-Cyprus reported.

By national legislation it is illegal to possess, kill or trade protected birds, as well as offer and consume them in restaurants.

Hamboullas is in favour of de-criminalizing illegal bird trapping in Cyprus, a national law under which various species of song birds are protected.

Executive Director of BirdLife Cyprus Clairie Papazoglou told the Cyprus Weekly that an alternative plan aiming to control and limit illegal trapping, instead of banning it altogether, is supported by Hamboullas but his post raised more concern.

“The post by the Famagusta MP, Mr Evgenios Hamboullas on a social media network seems to be promoting an illegal and condemnable act. While the position of the particular MP was already known, the most worrying in relation to this post is the comment, which refers to the legalisation of the ambelopoulia trade in restaurants. Therefore the claim of “tradition” is no longer valid.”

Hamboullas, who sits on the House Agriculture Committee, defended his actions and accused his critics of being ‘hypocrites’.

The Famagusta MP wants to lift the ban on hunting ambelopoulia, claiming that the government has the right to not enforce EU laws which call for the protection of ambelopoulia, citing traditional and cultural reasons.

“I posted something on Facebook. If some believe that I broke the law and want to come after me, they can rest assured I won’t call on my parliamentary immunity and then have regrets,” he said.


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