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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-12-06

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, December 6, 1997


  • [01] Bekir the traveller: an epic tale
  • [02] New jobs for top cops named in torture probe
  • [03] Fury over hospital operating theatre row
  • [04] Greens to protest at airports
  • [05] Bomber freed after being held illegally
  • [06] Heart pensioner jailed for tax arrears
  • [07] Clerides urged to retire gracefully
  • [08] 'Flu' toddler died of meningitis
  • [09] Fertilizers 'may make water undrinkable'
  • [10] Cassoulides explains Hannay settlers comment
  • [11] Turkish Cypriots 'in danger of extinction'
  • [12] Domestic violence rising
  • [13] Two killed as car overturns

  • [01] Bekir the traveller: an epic tale

    By Andrew Adamides

    AN EPIC tale of endurance was reported yesterday in the newspaper Kibris about a journey undertaken by a 14-year-old Turkish Cypriot boy.

    The victim of a broken home, Bekir Yasiv was abandoned by his father in an orphanage after his mother remarried and moved to England.

    Eventually managing to escape the appalling conditions, Bekir survived for a time by working with fishermen, before deciding to try to travel to London to find his mother.

    Stowing away in a lorry by clinging to the chassis, just inches above the rear axle, Bekir managed to reach Turkey by ferry. He then spent a tortuous few days living rough and hitchhiking to Istanbul.

    On reaching the city, Bekir then climbed on top of a freight train wagon he thought was bound for England. But the train was actually headed in the opposite direction, resulting in further risks for the boy as he changed trains several times before finally ending up on one actually destined for England.

    He remained on the roof of one of the wagons for four days, without food or shelter, before the train reached Yugoslavia. There he was found by soldiers who took him off the train and returned him to the occupied areas.

    But there may yet be a happy ending for Bekir. As Kibris reports, he has now been taken into the care of a Turkish Cypriot politician and has since been in contact with his mother.

    She is currently unwell, but has promised to send for him once she recovers, the paper said.

    [02] New jobs for top cops named in torture probe

    THREE top policemen who were dismissed last year after allegations of torture and then had their sackings overturned were reinstated to the force yesterday.

    Former Limassol police chief Elias Kyriakides and ex-CID officers Theodoros Stylianou and Charalambos Taliadoros started a second career on receiving new posts.

    The three won the right to be policemen again when the Supreme Court last week ruled their sacking by the cabinet had been unconstitutional.

    The government decided to comply with the ruling and their reinstatement took effect yesterday.

    Chief of police Panicos Hadjiloizou called the three to his office and briefed them on their new posts.

    Kyriakides will now take up a senior position at police HQ, Stylianou has been appointed assistant director of the Police Academy, and Taliadoros head of marine police at Larnaca.

    The three were dismissed by the Council of Ministers in March 1996 after they and nine others were named in an independent inquiry which concluded that torture of remand suspects had been systematic at Limassol police station between 1990 and 1993.

    [03] Fury over hospital operating theatre row

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DOCTORS who squabbled over the use of an operating theatre while children waited for emergency surgery could face disciplinary action.

    The Health Ministry, furious that children's lives could have been at risk, has ordered an investigation into the incident which took place at the reputable Makarios hospital in Nicosia.

    "There is no excuse for this type of behaviour by doctors, especially when one of those children affected concerned a case of life and death," said Health Ministry Director-general Achilleas Patzinakos yesterday.

    According to reports, doctors nearly came to blows when they were asked to forego scheduled surgery on Thursday to make way for emergency operations.

    The request for an operating theatre to be made available came when a child needed surgery for a severed finger but was not allowed immediate access.

    The Health Ministry was then called on to intervene to resolve the dispute over allotted surgery time.

    Patzinakos said the fact that the health ministry had to play peacemaker put the hospital in a bad light.

    "This showed a lack of co-operation between doctors, a lack of responsibility, and a lack of respect for the patient," he said.

    Patzinakos also pointed out that other emergency operations were delayed because doctors were only concerned about their own personal agendas.

    Although patients scheduled for regular surgery were given a pre- anaesthetic, Patzinakos said they were not in any danger by having their operations put back.

    "All hospitals in Cyprus and the world follow the rule that emergency cases have priority over other operations."

    The ministry will carry out an investigation on Monday to discover if any of the doctors involved were negligent.

    Despite the row, the health ministry did manage to ensure that all emergency operations were carried out successfully.

    [04] Greens to protest at airports

    INTERNATIONAL Air Traffic Action Day will today be marked in Cyprus by Friends of the Earth (FoE) protests outside Larnaca and Paphos airports.

    More than 50 organisations are to stage events in 16 European countries, Australia, the US and Japan.

    FoE claim that with the growing numbers of planes, effects on the atmosphere will be catastrophic as flying causes even more pollution than driving a car.

    Other dangers posed by air traffic are said to include increased disease risks for those living close to airports.

    The protests in Cyprus are set to take place between three and 5.30pm.

    [05] Bomber freed after being held illegally

    By Jean Christou

    CONVICTED Palestinian bomber Omar Hawillo was released from detention yesterday on the orders of the Supreme Court.

    The court ordered the immediate and unconditional release of the 31-year- old Palestinian who has been illegally detained by the Cyprus police since last year.

    Hawillo was convicted in 1988 for his part in a bungled bomb attempt on the Israeli embassy in Nicosia in May of that year.

    Three people were killed and nineteen others injured when

    a jeep rigged with explosives, driven by Hawillo's suspected accomplice, exploded on a busy bridge killing the driver and two bystanders, both Cypriots.

    Minutes before the blast, security personnel had twice prevented the jeep from parking near the Israeli embassy.

    Although Hawillo's had served eight years of a 15-year sentence, the authorities could not find a country willing to take him on his release after a presidential pardon and remission for good behaviour.

    Hawillo told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that he is happy to be free again and "deeply sorry" about the people who were killed in the 1988 attack.

    "I want to express my feelings about the victims and their families who lost them," he said.

    "I was about 20 when it happened and from the day I was sentenced I realised that what I did was wrong, because innocent people had paid with their lives for it."

    Hawillo said he is prepared to go to any country willing to accept him, but he ruled out any possibility of going to the Palestinian sel-rule areas. "There is no hope of me going there," he said.

    On his release last year, Hawillo was sent to Lebanon but was turned away because his passport was fake. No other country has been found to accept him since.

    He has staged several hunger strikes over the past 15 months to campaign for his release, and last month he appealed to the Supreme Court. The court ruled his continued detention was illegal.

    Hawillo said continued detention in less than perfect conditions had taken a toll on his health.

    "The treatment was routine in detention but they do not enjoy there even one per cent of the privileges enjoyed in the prison. Everything was bad," he said.

    Hawillo's lawyer Neophytos Papamiltiadou said yesterday Hawillo would probably be given a three-month visa to stay in Cyprus while the authorities continue to search for a country willing to take him.

    "If a Cypriot employer is found to employ him he will be given a three- month work permit," Papamiltiadou said.

    Hawillo must also check in at a police station every Monday, he said.

    "The state has promised to make the effort to find a country within three months. If they don't then his permit will be renewed," Papamiltiadou said.

    Hawillo is currently staying with a friend in Nicosia.

    During his trial at Nicosia Assizes, the identity of the organisation he had been working for was never established.

    "I do not fear for my life now that I'm free in Cyprus," Hawillo said. "We have tried war - now let's give peace a chance."

    [06] Heart pensioner jailed for tax arrears

    A 64-year-old pensioner with heart trouble has been arrested for tax arrears he has owed since his working days.

    The Heart Patients' Association (HPA) has written a letter to President Clerides calling for the immediate release of Demetris Neophytou, 64.

    HPA president Pavlos Dinglis said yesterday Neophytou is a registered cardiac patient who underwent heart surgery two years ago.

    Dinglis said the HPA is concerned about the effects being in police custody will have on his health.

    He said the family is in dire financial straits and has been for some years, and that the HPA has helped them out on occasion.

    "They have no income beside his pension and there is no possibility of them being able to pay this money," Dinglis said, referring to back taxes. He did not know how much they amounted to.

    He added that Neophytou had owed the money since his working days.

    Police Spokesman Glafcos Xenos said yesterday he had no information about this particular case, but that he would look into it.

    [07] Clerides urged to retire gracefully

    By Charlie Charalambous

    DIKO leader Spyros Kyprianou yesterday called on President Clerides to retire gracefully from politics and make way for a new generation of leaders.

    He said Clerides' age was an obstacle to him withstanding the difficulties which lie ahead for Cyprus; he does not have the strength to see through a second term in office, Kyprianou claimed.

    He said Clerides should call it a day and make way for the likes of Attorney-general Alecos Markides.

    "We need to go for a new man who can take the strain much better. I have nothing against Clerides, but he is around 80 years old and we need a man who can stand the pressure better," Kyprianou said yesterday.

    The Diko leader, who is hoping Markides will enter the presidential fray as a candidate, said he personally told Clerides not to run for a second term for reasons of his age.

    "Markides represents a new generation and the older generation must give way. The people need a younger leader to face the most critical period in our history."

    Kyprianou admitted that he had expressed a wish to become president again, but then realised new blood was needed to gain wider support for Diko's agenda.

    "Markides is the best man for the job."

    Kyprianou stressed that Diko was not forcing the attorney-general's hand and it had been Markides' own idea to consider running for president.

    "We are ready to support his candidature if he declares it, and it also gives Disy the chance to discuss the candidature of Markides."

    Although Disy says it backs Clerides one hundred per cent, there are elements in the party, as in Diko, that would like the Disy-Diko alliance to continue - but not under the Clerides ticket.

    "A person like Markides would not only benefit Disy but Cyprus," said Kyprianou, who pulled out of the government alliance last month realising that Clerides would run again. "Maybe it was a mistake that we didn't end our co-operation much earlier," he admitted yesterday.

    The former president added that Diko had been led to believe that Clerides would only serve one term and that he would back Kyprianou's own candidacy the next time round.

    He showed his bitterness at the price his party has had to pay for five years: "Diko put Clerides and Disy into power and we paid a political cost for that. We had a bad experience...

    "Clerides would never have been elected if it wasn't for Diko."

    During a press conference yesterday Kyprianou also warned the Cyprus problem was moving in the wrong direction, and he said EU accession would suffer because of it.

    "Our own evaluation is that the international community, unfortunately, is moving towards closing the Cyprus problem - not solving it."

    [08] 'Flu' toddler died of meningitis

    By Jean Christou

    THE HEALTH Ministry is investigating how a toddler who died of bacterial meningitis yesterday morning had been diagnosed with flu only 24 hours before.

    Two and a half-year-old Sotiris Panayiotou from Liopetri died in Larnaca hospital after desperate efforts to save his life.

    But by the time he finally received the proper treatment, it was too late.

    On Thursday Sotiris' parents took him to Paralimni hospital where he was diagnosed with flu by the duty doctors, given medicine and sent home.

    When his condition did not improve overnight, his parents took him to a private doctor in the village who immediately recommended that he be taken back to the hospital.

    Dr Constantinos Mallis, chief medical officer for the Larnaca/Famagusta region, told state radio yesterday the boy was in bad shape when he arrived and he was immediately transferred to Larnaca hospital at 6.20am.

    But despite further treatment his condition had become irreversible, and Sotiris died a short time later.

    Mallis said treatment has now been given to all the family and those who had come in contact with him.

    The Health Ministry also sent a team of doctors to Liopetri yesterday to evaluate the situation.

    Dr Petros Matsas, a specialist in viruses who was part of the team, said they had gone to oversee the measures that needed to be taken.

    The Ministry's director-general, Achilleas Patzinakos, said an investigation has been launched into who, if anyone, is to blame for the boy's death.

    "We have just heard about what happened and are looking at why the duty doctors at Paralimni diagnosed flu and then hours later the boy was dead," he said.

    Patzinakos said the main aim now is to ensure the meningitis doesn't spread.

    So far this year there have been 25 cases of bacterial meningitis. One person, an elderly woman died, from the disease. Many of those who were successfully treated were children.

    [09] Fertilizers 'may make water undrinkable'

    THE Agriculture Ministry has warned that unless farmers decrease the use of nitrate fertilizers, the nitrous content of Cyprus' water may make it undrinkable.

    Agriculture Ministry hydrogeologist Michalakis Peppis said that in order to decrease nitrate levels, farmers need to stop using the fertilizers until the levels drop.

    He added that the farmers were shooting themselves in the foot by continuing to use the dangerous fertilizer, as the situation could result in there being no water for them to cultivate land in the future.

    Peppis said the ministry is monitoring the situation carefully and is taking pains to inform farmers of the problems.

    The nitrate levels, which are not constant in all areas, could also make it impossible to drill new boreholes.

    [10] Cassoulides explains Hannay settlers comment

    By Aline Davidian

    BRITAIN'S Special Envoy Sir David Hannay was not trying to promote the presence of settlers in Cyprus when he made comments about 'TRNC citizenship', Foreign Minster Yiannakis Cassoulides told the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday.

    Cassoulides, who met Sir David in London on November 27, said he had been at pains during the meeting to clarify the envoy's controversial statements about settlers.

    Hannay had been reported as saying that settlers married to Turkish Cypriots had acquired 'TRNC citizenship' and would not leave the occupied north after a solution to the Cyprus problem was found.

    Cassoulides told Sir David that such comments "were an invitation for more settlers to come".

    During his meeting with Cassoulides, in the presence of other British MPs, Sir David said his statements had been misconstrued.

    "I did not have in mind the promotion of settlers," Cassoulides reported him as saying. He added that Sir David also said his statements were aimed at "situations with a humanitarian element".

    An example would be cases of settlers marrying Turkish Cypriots.

    Cassoulides told the committee that recent settlers who are part of the labour force would definitely have to leave.

    This new interpretation will be sent to Sir David to confirm in writing, Cassoulides said.

    Dimitris Eliades said the 'humanitarian element' referred to by Sir David was "completely vague and uncertain", leaving the matter open to what he called unwelcome developments.

    Cassoulides agreed, but said the envoy's statements might have been made in response to questions put to him, not as pronouncements of British policy.

    He said the British attitude in "not recognising or acknowledging" the occupied areas had not changed.

    [11] Turkish Cypriots 'in danger of extinction'

    A GROUP of intellectuals in the north has denounced what it calls Ankara's repressive policies against Turkish Cypriots, warning it will lead to their extinction.

    In an open letter to all EU member countries, the group members who wish to remain anonymous say Turkish Cypriots are in danger of being wiped out.

    They cited the number of settlers brought into the occupied areas since 1974 and the presence of 35,000 Turkish troops.

    "Since 1974 two thirds of the population has emigrated, mainly to Britain, and the remaining one third has been turned into hostages," the letter said.

    Cyprus government estimates put the number of Turkish Cypriots in 1974 at 120,000.

    If the figures quoted in the letter are correct this would leave only 40, 000 of the original Turkish Cypriot population.

    The first ever published census in the north last month put the population of the occupied areas at more than 200,000, excluding Turkish troops.

    This would mean 160,000 settlers have been brought in since 1974. Government estimates have put the figure at at least 100,000.

    "Denktash (the Turkish Cypriot leader) does not represent Cypriot Turks any more," the letter said adding that he "only represents the settlers "brought in from Turkey to fill the vast gap created as a result of Greek Cypriots forced to flee to the south".

    The letter said that under the guise of being liberated Turkish Cypriots are in fact being suppressed. "Many Turkish Cypriots are in favour of joining Greek Cypriots in the process of negotiations with the EU," the letter said.

    The group calls on EU countries to listen to them urgently because "time is running out and our voice is one of desperation but also of hope".

    [12] Domestic violence rising

    RECORDED cases of family violence in Cyprus are increasing, a seminar in Nicosia heard yesterday.

    The number of reported cases in 1996 was 102, as compared to 84 in 1995, 73 in 1994 and 59 in 1993, according to the Welfare Department. The majority of the victims are still women and children.

    Some 45 officials from different ministries and government organisations such as the Family Planning Organisation and the Association for the Prevention of Violence, attended the seminar.

    Incidents of family violence have always existed, but only in recent years have victims found the courage to report them, a Welfare official said.

    [13] Two killed as car overturns

    TWO MORE people were killed on the roads yesterday, making a total of four in 24 hours.

    Yesterday's accident occurred in the Ladies Mile area of Limassol when a car overturned, instantly killing Antonis Photiou, 40, from Limassol and a Russian tourist, Maria Korotina.

    Five other passengers, one Cypriot and four Russians, were also injured in the accident, which happened just after 4 pm.

    Police said Photiou, who had been driving the large Mitsubishi Pajero, lost control of the vehicle in "unknown circumstances".

    The car overturned several times before coming to rest on the other side of the road.

    Police said Photiou and Korotina were thrown from the vehicle and died instantly. They were taken to Akrotiri hospital while the injured were transferred to Limassol hospital.

    None of the five are said to be in danger.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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