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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-10-21

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Tuesday, October 21, 1997

CONTENTS

  • [01] Diko plan to quit coalition
  • [02] Aeroporos brothers `have no chance of fair trial'
  • [03] Bulgarian woman recovering after wedding stabbing
  • [04] Soldier shot `because he was ten minutes late'
  • [05] Frogmen search for missing fisherman
  • [06] Troulli faces menace of drifting mines
  • [07] Markides wants control over police prosecutions
  • [08] Defence Ministry urged to sort out legal anomaly
  • [09] No compromise as petrol strike goes ahead
  • [10] Russian and Commonwealth envoys soon
  • [11] Anorthosis punching below their weight

  • [01] Diko plan to quit coalition

    By Andrew Adamides

    DIKO yesterday served notice on their ailing government coalition partnership, saying it could not continue "under its current form".

    The party said it was ready for dialogue and "open to new political alliances". It nevertheless left a window open to continue the old alliance as the contents of the statement - a result of a meeting of Diko's executive office - have yet to be officially approved by the party's central committee.

    The statement came after the morning meeting between Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou and President Glafcos Clerides and an announcement by the government spokesman strongly hinting that Clerides would run in next year's presidential election.

    In his daily press briefing, spokesman Manolis Christofides said it would "make news if President Clerides is not a candidate for the presidential elections".

    He also repeated that Clerides would officially announce his final decision later this month and that "everybody should respect the President's wish".

    Yesterday's Diko statement added that the participation of Diko ministers in the Clerides government would be discussed by the party's central committee after Clerides' return from Edinburgh, where he is to attend the Commonwealth heads of government meeting.

    The main dispute in the troubled Diko-Disy alliance has been over the candidacy for the elections. Kyprianou has already announced that he will stand, and has expressed dissatisfaction that Clerides has not yet clarified his intentions.

    Last month, Kyprianou went on record as saying that if Clerides did run, the alliance would end. His statements came days after Clerides offered to back Kyprianou as candidate if he himself decided not to run. Kyprianou said Diko ministers had assured him they would abandon their posts if Clerides decided to run and added that Diko was under no obligation to support Clerides: on the contrary, Disy had a "moral obligation" to support Diko's president.

    Keeping all his options open, Kyprianou has also held preliminary meetings with other party leaders.

    [02] Aeroporos brothers `have no chance of fair trial'

    By Martin Hellicar

    MINISTERIAL allegations of attempts to bribe the chief prosecution witness meant three Aeroporos brothers accused of attempted murder had no chance of a fair trial, their lawyer claimed yesterday.

    The Aeroporos brothers Panicos, 25, Andreas, 30, and Charalambos, 35, are suspected of involvement in the drive-by shooting of Antonis Charalambos Fanieros, 56, outside his gambling club in Larnaca on May 29. Fanieros survived.

    The Aeroporos brothers' lawyer, Efstathios Efstathiou, told the court that claims made by police and Justice Minister Nikos Koshis on Sunday had violated his clients' rights. Koshis confirmed that police had information that an attempt had been made to buy off prosecution witness Tassos Simellides with 200,000.

    Efstathiou also claimed the unprecedented security surrounding the trial, and the wide publicity given to the case, further reduced the accuseds' chance of a fair trial.

    Armed riot squad (MMAD) officers patrolled the perimeter of the Nicosia court yesterday as the Aeroporos' trial began before the Assizes. Entry to the court-room was only allowed to relatives of the accused and journalists.

    Police fear the notorious Aeroporos clan may try a hit on 28-year-old Simellides. Simellides, serving a nine-year sentence for his part in the attack on Fanieros, was expected to take the witness stand yesterday but did not because of delays in court procedure caused by objections raised by Efstathiou.

    Simellides has admitted to acting as the motorbike rider for the attack and has claimed Panicos Aeroporos, riding pillion, pulled the trigger while his two brothers helped organise the hit.

    Simellides has also implicated Panicos Aeroporos in a machine-gun attack on two police officers shortly after the attempted murder.

    Efstathiou told the court public opinion had already convicted his clients without trial and claimed the court could be influenced by this.

    He also suggested it would be germane to the trial for the three judges to visit the scene of the crime in Larnaca.

    State prosecutor Petros Clerides said the prosecution had not violated the defendants' rights in any way and the court was capable of arriving at a decision independent of any external factors. He described the strict security as necessary and said there was no need for the judges to visit Larnaca.

    The court went into recess for over two hours to consider Efstathiou's objections. The judges then dismissed his claims of unfair trial and also stated there was no call, at this stage, for a visit to the scene of the crime.

    The hearing was adjourned for today, when Simellides is expected to take the stand.

    The attack on Fanieros was seen as a continuation of a bloody feud between rival gangs vying for control of prostitution, gambling and drugs rackets.

    [03] Bulgarian woman recovering after wedding stabbing

    BULGARIAN Pavlina Nikolova was making a steady recovery in hospital yesterday after being injured in a knife-attack at her daughter's wedding celebrations.

    Her estranged husband, 40-year-old Nikolov Ionof, also a Bulgarian national, is being held on suspicion of attempting to murder Pavlina, 37, and assaulting his daughter, 19-year-old Maria Nikolova, with a pair of scissors.

    According to police, Ionof was caught with a butterfly knife in his hands, fighting with his injured wife in a room at his son-in-law's house in Nicosia in the early hours of Sunday morning. The incident took place after his daughter's wedding to Yiannis Yeorgiou on Saturday afternoon.

    Ionof was arrested while Pavlina and Maria were rushed to Nicosia General hospital. Pavlina was kept in for treatment to three flesh wounds while Maria was released after receiving treatment for a seven-inch gash.

    Ionof was brought up before Nicosia District Court later in the day.

    The court heard that police had been called to Yeorgiou's house by wedding party guests after an argument broke out between Ionof and his wife at around 2am.

    Ionof was apparently demanding that Pavlina return to Bulgaria with him. When police arrived on the scene, they found the couple in a bedroom, Pavlina injured and Ionof holding a knife, the court heard.

    Before the alleged attack on his wife, Ionof also had an argument with his newlywed daughter and attacked her with a pair of scissors.

    The suspect was remanded for eight days.

    [04] Soldier shot `because he was ten minutes late'

    EIGHTEEN-year-old National Guardsman Nicos Nicolaou was remanded by a military court yesterday on suspicion of shooting a fellow-soldier at his camp on Sunday.

    The victim of the attack, 19-year-old Kyriacos Papetas, was in a critical but steady condition in Nicosia General hospital yesterday after undergoing emergency surgery for three bullet wounds.

    The military court, sitting in Limassol, heard that Nicolaou shot Papetas three times from close range after he turned up ten minutes late to replace him on guard duty. The incident occurred at just after 2pm at the Kornos camp in the Nicosia district.

    CID officer Aristides Chapouras, in charge of the investigation, said Nicolaou, from Larnaca, had been on guard duty between midday and 2pm. At ten past two, Papetas left the camp barracks accompanied by a corporal to replace Nicolaou, Chapouras said.

    When Papetas got to the guard post, Nicolaou was nowhere to be seen, the court heard. The corporal called out for Nicolaou who then appeared from behind some nearby crates with his gun levelled at Papetas, Chapouras said.

    Nicolaou then demanded to know from Papetas why he was late to replace him, the court heard. Papetas apparently noticed Nicolaou's gun was loaded and asked him why.

    Nicolaou then shot Papetas three times from a range of about 10 metres, hitting him in both knees and the shoulder, the court heard.

    Papetas was rushed to Nicosia General hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.

    Nicolaou was remanded for eight days on suspicion of attempting to murder his fellow-soldier.

    [05] Frogmen search for missing fisherman

    THE SEARCH continued yesterday for missing Larnaca fisherman Christakis Xenophontos after he failed to return from a fishing trip on Friday night.

    Police still hope that he may be alive as there was a chance Xenophontos was wearing a life jacket.

    Yesterday marked the third day since the disappearance of the 39-year-old fisherman from Dromolaxia. He had set out in his unpowered fishing boat, the Solea, at about 6pm on Friday. He had intended to cast his nets off the coast of Meneou but had failed to return home that evening.

    The empty Solea was eventually found on the morning of Saturday, drifting 13 miles off Cape Kiti. It was towed into Larnaca marina by police.

    Having combed the area without success on Sunday, police searched the Meneou-Kiti coastline again yesterday. Police frogmen also carried out investigations whenever weather conditions permitted as intermittent rain caused difficulties.

    The Search and Rescue Centre of Larnaca airport is co-ordinating the investigation in collaboration with Larnaca police and the air-force of Larnaca harbour police.

    [06] Troulli faces menace of drifting mines

    ALTHOUGH life in the storm-hit village of Troulli was getting back to normal yesterday, residents faced a new danger of drifting land mines.

    Saturday's heavy rain not only flooded roads and houses, it also shifted land mines from a nearby National Guard minefield.

    Subsequent mud slides helped to move the mines, and now an operation is under way to locate and collect them.

    In an effort to find the mines and secure the area, fields and roads have been cordoned off in and around the Larnaca village.

    Mukhtar Mammas Alexiou said the missing mines were now the greatest dangers facing villagers after the storm.

    "The National Guard are looking for mines which have shifted. We hope the operation will be successful so people can move freely again."

    Telephone and electricity lines were reconnected in the village yesterday.

    [07] Markides wants control over police prosecutions

    By Charlie Charalambous

    ATTORNEY-general Alecos Markides has called for an independent police public prosecution service in order to keep tabs on unorthodox procedures.

    Markides told yesterday's House Finance Committee meeting that there was no way of knowing why certain cases were shelved by police unless his office had more control.

    "We need our own people in the police so we can control what's going on and see why cases are being struck off," Markides said.

    He was explaining to the committee about funds in the budget to train police prosecutors and why legislation was needed to make them independent and part of the Attorney-general's office.

    "This is a professional job and prosecutors who have an average of 30 cases to prepare cannot be expected to be on duty at football matches on a Sunday."

    Markides said that on average his office was consulted on about 300 cases a month, but for the remainder the police went ahead with without seeking advice.

    He said there was no way of knowing why complaints to police were not acted upon and which files never saw the light of day.

    Markides argued that police prosecutors needed a separate mandate and should not treated as part of the general police force.

    He also conceded there was a battle between the police and his office as to where the public prosecutors should belong.

    Nevertheless he said a fledging training programme, which is to be expanded, was a success but said changing the status of police prosecutors would take years.

    [08] Defence Ministry urged to sort out legal anomaly

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DIKO DEPUTY Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday threatened to vote against the Defence Ministry budget unless it put its house in order.

    Papadopoulos was unhappy that the Defence Ministry had no proper structure and was the only ministry under the constitution in which the minister was not responsible for his departments.

    He said legal measures had not been taken to ensure the National Guard came under the Defence Ministry's jurisdiction.

    "The aim of the ministry should be to bring the National Guard within the realm of the Defence Ministry, otherwise I won't vote for the budget and will ask other to do the same," said Papadopoulos.

    The deputy, a constitutional expert, told the House Finance Committee that this legal anomaly needed to be cleared up because in essence the ministry had no structure and no permanent staff.

    "There is no legal connection between the Defence Minister and the National Guard and the minister has no authority over it under the law."

    Papadopoulos told the attendant Defence Minister Costas Eliades that it was a serious issue he needed to take to the Council of Ministers before the budget vote.

    He said the law which established the National Guard in 1964 was no longer relevant in today's climate.

    "Today conditions have changed and it should be under the jurisdiction of the Defence Ministry."

    Papadopoulos gained immediate support for his stance when independent deputy Marios Matsakis said he would vote against the budget as well.

    And Eliades agreed that the issue needed to be sorted out.

    On a lighter note, Edek's Takis Hadjidemetriou urged the minister to ensure that Cyprus flags, as well as Greek ones, were on show on official parades.

    "Could the National Guard hold Cyprus flags in front of President Clerides? It's not unpatriotic to do so."

    [09] No compromise as petrol strike goes ahead

    By Aline Davidian

    A NATIONWIDE petrol strike went ahead as planned yesterday and ended at six am this morning.

    The protest was a warning strike by petrol station proprietors wanting an increase in their commission from petrol companies. The proprietors have threatened to strike indefinitely in future if their demands are not met.

    The desired raise in commission is part of an agreement to adjust the commission every three years.

    The president of the Pancyprian Association of Petrol Station Proprietors, Bambinos Charalambous, said yesterday an impasse had been reached despite the mediation of the Ministry of Commerce and Works, as the petrol companies were refusing to renew the agreement. He stated that the station proprietors did not want any special treatment, but merely the means to survive.

    But administrative counsellor to the Petrolina-Lina company Ltd, Kikis Lefkaritis, said evidence of an increase in profits made by the station proprietors had been given to the Ministry of Commerce and Works for affirmation.

    Lefkaritis stated that the matter was one for the Ministry to decide, since the latter received the monthly profit and expenditure profile of both the petrol stations and the companies.

    He added, however, that an increase in the station owners' commission would cost the Cypriot consumer 1.5 million.

    The Ministry of Commerce and Works has vowed to put pressure on both parties to reach a compromise.

    Pronounced a success by the Shopkeepers Union (Povek), the strike had little effect on the public, who had purchased petrol supplies for their cars in advance.

    Six petrol stations belonging to the Petrolina-Lina company were still open for business yesterday.

    [10] Russian and Commonwealth envoys soon

    GOVERNMENT Spokesman Manolis Christofides yesterday welcomed Russian and Commonwealth intentions to appoint special envoys on Cyprus.

    In his daily press briefing, he said the government "attached special importance" to the fact that Russian President Boris Yeltsin felt the Cyprus problem was of a high enough priority to appoint a special emissary. He also expressed gratitude to the Commonwealth for its initiatives, calling the organisation "a great family of nations and states."

    The Commonwealth decision was announced on Sunday by Secretary General Chief Emeka Anyaoku. Speaking on BBC World Service Question Time, Anyaoku said the role of such a representative would be to convey the Commonwealth's feelings on the Cyprus problem and to "possibly touch base" with the parties directly involved.

    Anyaoku added that any such representative would be present at future rounds of the UN-sponsored peace talks which, he said, the Commonwealth supported. He also noted that a Commonwealth Action Group on Cyprus set up in 1983 was still in existence, but was now taking a back seat to UN involvements. "The scene for action" on the Cyprus problem, he said, has "moved decisively" to the UN.

    [11] Anorthosis punching below their weight

    THE DISPARITY in strength, power and quality between champions Anorthosis and their opponents on Sunday, Ethnikos Ashias should have made the referee declare the match a no-contest.

    It was bit like a flyweight being allowed into the boxing ring with a heavyweight. Inevitably, Anorthosis romped to 5-0 win without breaking sweat and fortunately Ashia did not suffer any lasting damage.

    After four matches, in their first ever season in the first division, Ashia have still to win a point and remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

    For Anorthosis this was the fourth successive win. They have yet to concede a goal and have scored 19, although in fairness, they have yet to meet one of the league's stronger sides. They are top of the table, ahead of Apollonas, the only other side with maximum points, on goal difference.

    On Sunday, Ioannou and Krismarevic scored in the first half while Engomitis, Elia and Charalambous were on target after the interval.

    Apoel lost their 100 per cent record at Larnaca on Saturday night, losing 3- 2 to an Aek side playing with 10 men for one hour of the clash. Brazilian forward, Toinze was sent off in the 31st minute after punching Aristocleous.

    Hadjiloucas put the Nicosia side in front after 20 minutes, heading the ball from a rebound into the net, after Costa had hit the post from a free- kick.

    Aek were lucky to be level, six minutes later, thanks to a very harsh penalty decision. Referee Skapoullis pointed to the spot after a Costa tackle on Paolinho - from television replays it was obvious that the Apoel defender had played the ball. Stylianides converted the penalty.

    After Toinze's sending off, Aek must have been more than happy to have settled for a draw, but some suicidal defending by Apoel allowed them to take the three points.

    In the space of a few minutes in the second half, Aek were 3-1 up. Christodoulou scored an own goal in the 66th minute and two minutes later, Alexandrou flicked the ball over keeper Petrides after being put through by Paolinho.

    Although Hertnagl pulled a goal back for Apoel with superb shot, Aek defended their lead with admirable composure until the end.

    Alki also clinched their first point of the season, drawing 2-2 in Paralimni, in a match which saw two red cards being shown. Paralimni were trailing 1-0 to a goal by Kontolefteros when defender Nicolaou was sent off for a professional foul.

    They levelled on the hour through Afxentis, but two minutes later Alki were in front again, this time through Deleboutin. In the meantime Alki's Yiatrou was also sent off. Kosma levelled for Paralimni five minutes from time.

    © Copyright 1997 Cyprus Mail

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