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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-12-16

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Tuesday, December 16, 1997


  • [01] Albright makes brief Cyprus stopover
  • [02] Cyprus talks `dead', says Denktash
  • [03] Markides decision today or tomorrow
  • [04] Nun returns to convent
  • [05] Turk jailed for spying
  • [06] Four-metre Ledra Palace barrier by Christmas
  • [07] Aeroporos mother charged with assault
  • [08] Police offers to set up regional human rights office
  • [09] Galanos offers himself as fall-back for Diko
  • [10] Probe confirms illegalities at planning department
  • [11] Arson attack at Larnaca club
  • [12] Unions tell employees to resist pressure for extra hours
  • [13] Captain of Cyprus collision ship faces further charges

  • [01] Albright makes brief Cyprus stopover

    US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stopped over in Larnaca for an hour last night.

    The stop was made to allow her plane to refuel. Albright landed at around 7pm and took off just after 8pm.

    She was enroute from Africa to Brussels for meetings of Nato ministers.

    Albright made no statements during her stop, her third visit to Cyprus in the past two years. The last visit she made was in September.

    [02] Cyprus talks `dead', says Denktash

    By Jean Christou

    TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has slammed the door on any further inter-communal talks in the wake of the European Union's decision to open accession negotiations with Cyprus.

    "The inter-communal talks have died and under these conditions a federation is not on the agenda," a statement from Denktash's office said yesterday.

    Denktash also said he would no longer discuss the subject of inter-communal talks with the UN. He is due to meet UN permanent Representative Gustave Feissel today.

    He also said the EU's representative on the island Gilles Anouil should not longer disturb his `officials'.

    "Those who recognise our state can come and talk to us," Denktash said.

    "This is the last manoeuvre by the Greek and Greek Cypriot administrations who have been trying to make the Turks of Cyprus wear the shirt of a minority for the last 34 years."

    Denktash's comments were in line with the hardline stance adopted by the Turkish side since Saturday's historic EU summit. On Sunday, Turkish Cypriot `Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu told reporters that foreign diplomats would henceforth only be received by Denktash if they addressed the Turkish Cypriot leader as "Mr President".

    The Turkish Cypriot reaction echoed similar statements in Ankara, where a Turkish Foreign Ministry yesterday said the EU decision would only speed up Turkey's decision to integrate the occupied areas.

    Turkey has also rejected an offer to attend a Conference for EU aspirants in Britain early next year. The Conference had been seen as an attempt to keep Ankara on board by not closing the door to its own eventual EU membership.

    In Nicosia yesterday, Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides said Ankara's decision was "not wise", adding that if Turkey accepted European principles and beliefs it would provide the framework for a Cyprus solution and good neighbourly relations.

    "A positive response on the part of Turkey would contribute towards conditions of security and stability in the region," Cassoulides said.

    The Minister dismissed Turkish threats partially to integrate the occupied areas with Turkey, saying: "Cyprus and Greece will deal with any Turkish reaction within international law and order."

    Cassoulides added the accession talks would act as a catalyst in efforts to reach a political settlement.

    On his return to the island form Luxembourg on Sunday, President Clerides said that if Turkey went ahead to integrate the occupied areas "no country will accept this neither Europe, nor the US or any other country."

    Clerides said the EU had sent a message to Turkey that it should contribute to finding a Cyprus solution within the EU framework

    [03] Markides decision today or tomorrow

    ATTORNEY General Alecos Markides will announce either today or tomorrow whether or not he is to stand as a presidential candidate in the February elections.

    He told reporters yesterday that he would hold a press conference to announce his decision, but refused to comment further.

    If he runs, Markides will be backed by Diko, who only recently revealed that the Attorney General was their "mystery man" for the candidacy. The announcement came after several weeks of media speculation that the party was holding talks with Markides.

    [04] Nun returns to convent

    By Andrew Adamides

    NUN Nectaria Tryphonos returned to the Ayios Iraklidios convent late last night after allegedly being snatched from there earlier in the day.

    Police issued a statement last night saying they had been made aware of Nectaria's wherabouts and had taken her to Paphos police headquarters. In a statement she made there, the nun said she did not wish to file a complaint against anyone and only wanted to go back to Ayios Iraklidios.

    The astounding events surrounding priest Papakyriakos Tryphonos' daughter Nectaria, 23, started to unfold at around 9.15am, yesterday, when a black taxi, registration unknown, drew up outside the Nicosia convent. Two women described as being between 40 and 45 got out of the car, approached and embraced Nectaria.

    They then told the abbess the young nun would go with them to visit her paralysed sister.

    As the three then walked to the waiting taxi, a white and blue minibus drew up. While the taxi driver shouted out "Come quietly, everything is OK.", between 12 and 20 people got out of the minibus and grabbed Nectaria, bundling her into the vehicle. It then headed off towards an unknown destination.

    The minibus, driven by a balding man of around 40, was later traced to the Paphos-based Aphrodite Taxi company.

    A search by Paphos police failed to locate any of the minibuses owned by the company, but it is known that one answering the description of the vehicle used in the snatch departed the firm's headquarters for Nicosia early yesterday morning. Carrying the licence number EET669, it was allegedly driven by Panicos Michael Zacharias and was believed to be transporting German tourists.

    As soon as they realised what had happened, nuns at the convent alerted police, who began a search for the missing nun.

    Speaking later at the family's home village of Letymbou, Paphos, Nectaria's father, Papakyriakos, who was outraged when his daughter absconded to the convent, told CyBC reporters only he knew where she was and refused to comment further.

    Nectaria first hit headlines when her father staged a hunger strike just after she entered the convent, claiming she had been brainwashed into joining the order.

    She had, he said, never shown any leanings toward a monastic way of life prior to sudden decision.

    Last Friday, however, Nectaria hit back at these statements, and calls for pressure to be put on the church to "release" her by writing an open letter to the media. In it, she asked to be left alone as she was "old enough" to know what she wanted, and that was to remain where she was.

    But Papakyriakos claimed his daughter was being threatened with divine punishment in order to prevent her from leaving the convent. Engaged to be married, Nectaria was a student at the Cyprus University before her decision to enter the convent.

    [05] Turk jailed for spying

    By Martin Hellicar

    A TURKISH national was yesterday sentenced to six-and-a-half years imprisonment for spying on National Guard positions for "Turkish interests".

    Forty-five-year-old Nejip Sari Cicekli pleaded guilty before Limassol Assizes to four charges of spying and photographing restricted military areas between August 1994 and February 1997.

    The court heard that Cicekli, a Turkish settler married to a Turkish Cypriot and resident in Limassol since 1982, had confessed to police that he was paid 2,500 by Turkish agents to spy on National Guard positions.

    "For a considerable period of time the accused took instructions from his associates and carried out espionage, conveying information which, by its nature, places the safety and interests of the Cyprus Republic at risk," the three-bench court stated in its decision.

    The ruling said the people who recruited Cicekli were also after information about where the Russian-made S-300 missiles would be deployed after delivery.

    When Cicekli was arrested on March 8, police said they found documents relating to Greek Cypriot military hardware, video footage of military positions and military maps in his car.

    The Assizes imposed a sentence of six-and-a-half years on two counts of spying, and four years for taking photographs of restricted positions. The sentences will run concurrently.

    Father-of-two Cicekli faced a maximum of 10 years for spying and six years for taking photographs in restricted areas, but the court said his co- operation with police after his arrest was a mitigating factor.

    Cicekli's lawyer, Turkish Cypriot Ali Dana, had also argued that the information conveyed to the Turkish side by his client was not top secret, but rather what he had got off the radio, television and newspapers or by going to public debates or through conversations at coffee shops. Dana also claimed Cicekli had been blackmailed into spying.

    Cicekli had originally pleaded not guilty to the spying charges, but Dana said he changed his plea because he believed he would be convicted regardless.

    Two other suspected spies, both Turkish Cypriots, were arrested with Cicekli in March.

    The Turkish Cypriots were released without charge two weeks later, but one of them was shot dead in Limassol six months later, on August 16.

    Thirty-eight-year-old fisherman Dijan Nejip Hakkemes was gunned down in the Turkish Cypriot neighbourhood of the town by a hooded gunman. No one has been arrested in connection with the killing.

    [06] Four-metre Ledra Palace barrier by Christmas

    By Charlie Charalambous

    A HUGE four-metre barrier will be erected at the Ledra Palace checkpoint to control the daily flow of traffic as well as demonstrations, the Cyprus Mail has learned.

    Construction on the four-metre automatic fence has already begun and is expected to be completed before Christmas, police sources told the Mail yesterday.

    "We have considered putting up an electronic gate for the past three months so as better to control those who are moving in and out of the Ledra Palace checkpoint, going to and from the occupied areas," a police source said.

    According to the same source, the electronic gate will be in operation before Christmas and will cost of 7,500 to erect.

    One of the reasons for constructing the barrier is to provide more effective crowd control for the frequent demonstrations that take place at the checkpoint, but the gate will also be used to check the daily flow to and from the occupied areas.

    UN spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said yesterday he was not aware of the construction, but added: "If it is a structure which will facilitate the freedom of movement of UN personnel and diplomats and contain demonstrations, then I welcome it."

    The UN had in the past complained about the "disorderly" demonstrations led by independent deputy Marios Matsakis to dissuade tourists from crossing over into the north.

    The spokesman said he would reserve further comment until he viewed the structure at first-hand.

    Matsakis for his part said he had in fact long called for such a barrier to stop criminals from escaping to the north.

    He also said that police procedures at the checkpoint were a "disgrace" and that a solid gate would improve security procedures there.

    "It's either a police checkpoint or it isn't; if it was a boy scout checkpoint, then it would be different," Matsakis told the Cyprus Mail.

    He added that "police should have full authority and a proper gate with a 24-hour guard to stop people passing through without checks."

    [07] Aeroporos mother charged with assault

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE 56-year-old mother of three Aeroporos brothers on trial for the attempted murder of Antonis Fanieros was yesterday charged with assault.

    Larnaca District Court heard that Eleni Aeroporou attacked the mother of murder victim Stalo Ioannou, Androulla, at the court on June 30. The alleged assault took place on the day Eleni's sons Hambis, 35, Andros, 30, and Panicos, 25, were remanded in connection with the May 29 machine-gun attack on 57-year-old Fanieros in Larnaca.

    Androulla Ioannou and her husband were protesting outside the court about the fact that their daughter's murder - in February 1994 - was still unsolved.

    Eleni Aeroporou denied the charge and the case was postponed till March 10.

    Eleni's other son, Michalis, was also due before the court yesterday, to face a charge of breach of the peace for allegedly publicly insulting Androulla Ioannou at the court on June 30. However, Michalis failed to show up. A warrant was issued for his arrest and his case was also postponed till March 10.

    Meanwhile, the trial of his three brothers continued before the Nicosia Assizes.

    Defence counsel Efstathios Efstathiou objected to a prosecution request for computer records of telephone calls made to chief prosecution witness Tassos Simellides before and after the attack to be admitted as evidence.

    Simellides - already convicted for acting as get-away driver for the attack on Fanieros - has named Panicos as the hit-man, Andros as the architect and Hambis as the instigator for the attack.

    Efstathiou argued that admitting such evidence would be a breach of privacy laws.

    After five hours of increasingly legalistic defence and prosecution arguments, the court decided to adjourn the case till tomorrow.

    [08] Police offers to set up regional human rights office

    POLICE proposals to establish a regional human rights protection office have been positively received by a conference in Strasbourg.

    The proposals to set up an Eastern Mediterranean office and have it manned by Council of Europe experts was made by a police delegation to Strasbourg, headed by police chief Panicos Hadjiloizou.

    They were submitted during a four-day conference on 'Police and Human Rights 1997-2000' organised by the Council of Europe last week.

    A police announcement said yesterday that the proposals would be examined and decided upon by the Council of Europe as soon as possible.

    Police are also hoping that their suggestion to make short films on human rights in Cyprus for the global market will also come to fruition.

    Four years ago, a report by the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture concluded "that persons held in certain police establishments in Cyprus - and particularly in Limassol Town Police Station - run the serious risk of severe ill treatment/torture."

    The report came after the committee visited Cyprus in 1992 and received complaints by detainees.

    Following the committee's findings, the government launched its own independent inquiry into police torture which also alleged that abuse of citizens had taken place in Limassol.

    However, three high-ranking officers alleged to have orchestrated torture at Limassol police station were cleared for lack of evidence by a criminal court and had their subsequent sackings overturned by the Supreme Court

    [09] Galanos offers himself as fall-back for Diko

    FORMER House President Alexis Galanos yesterday put himself forward as a presidential candidate for his party, Diko, should Attorney-general Alecos Markides decline to stand.

    Diko have promised Markides their support, but, with the Attorney-general still not having said whether he would stand, Galanos offered another option.

    The former Diko vice-chairman said that if Markides decided not to run he would "offer" himself as an alternative to the "impossibilities" of Diko supporting either President Clerides or Akel-backed candidate George Iacovou.

    Clerides has Disy's support, but Diko have ruled out resurrecting their alliance with Disy to back the President. The possibility of backing former Foreign Minister George Iacovou has, however, not been ruled out by Diko.

    Meanwhile, Akel leader Dimitris Christofias yesterday called a morning press conference to lambast Clerides's government. He claimed the government had instructed the intelligence services (Kyp) to watch opposition politicians instead of criminals or enemy agents. He added that he had "indications" that the phones of opposition politicians had been bugged.

    [10] Probe confirms illegalities at planning department

    AN INDEPENDENT investigation has uncovered irregularities at the Limassol municipality planning department, but has not isolated the guilty party.

    The investigation was ordered in May after Limassol councillor Michalis Kalogeropoulos Diakos alleged that a forged permit had been used to allow an illegal extension to a Limassol home. The allegations gained wide media coverage.

    The investigating committee report, handed to Limassol mayor Dimitris Kontides yesterday, concludes that an application for a building extension was illegally tampered with. However, the investigators were unable, due to lack of evidence, to isolate those responsible for the tampering.

    The committee was made up of two lawyers and a representative of the Technical Chamber (Etek).

    The investigation findings are to be considered by Attorney-general Alecos Markides and municipality legal advisors before further action is taken.

    [11] Arson attack at Larnaca club

    A SUSPECTED arsonist caused 2,000 worth of damage to a Larnaca nightclub early yesterday morning.

    The fire was reported at around 4am at the Nostalgie club belonging to Lefteris Antoniou Sarpallis and Dimitris Michael. Fire crews raced to the club in Stratigou Timayia Street - a notorious cabaret area - and managed to put out the blaze.

    Police said the arsonist entered the building by breaking a rear window. Sarpallis' brother Yiorgos, the last person to leave the club at around 3.15am, said he had seen nobody nearby and that the owners did not suspect anyone.

    He added that there had been no threats against the club, which is uninsured.

    According to police, a suspect was brought in for questioning in connection with the incident after a tip-off, but no evidence was found and he was released.

    The investigation is continuing.

    [12] Unions tell employees to resist pressure for extra hours

    SEK and Peo unions are calling on shop assistants not to be pressured into working late tomorrow by employers looking to cash in on the Christmas rush.

    The unions point out that Wednesday December 17 is not one of the days on which shopping hours are extended for Christmas.

    But there are fears that retail outlets, looking to make up for a bad year, will defy the government ruling and stay open.

    The unions yesterday called on the government, supermarkets, employers and the police to ensure the law is enforced.

    [13] Captain of Cyprus collision ship faces further charges

    THE GREEK Captain of a Cypriot-flagged tanker is facing further charges related to the October collision in Singapore.

    The Evoikos spilled 29,000 tonnes of oil into the Singapore Straits on October 15 after a collision with the Thai-registered Orapin Global. It was the region's worst ever oil spill.

    Michael Chalkitis, the Greek master of the Evoikos was already facing charges of reckless navigation, which carries a maximum fine of $50,000 and two years in jail.

    He has now been further charged with failing to keep a proper lookout, an offence which carries a fine of $6,315.

    The Orapin's Polish captain Jan Sokolowski also faces charges of reckless navigation.

    Singapore's public prosecutor has opposed applications to allow the two captains to return to their home countries for Christmas. He argued there was no "real, pressing need for the accused to leave the jurisdiction".

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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