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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-08-14

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

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


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Saturday, August 14, 1999

CONTENTS

  • [01] Axe murder suspect acquitted of Kilani killing
  • [02] Turks release Canadian Cypriot
  • [03] Israel thanks Cyprus for releasing spies
  • [04] Date set for tourist's trial, victim still critical
  • [05] Heat wave warning
  • [06] Police seek father and son after boy abducted from UK
  • [07] Cypriots 'beat up tourists who rejected their advances'
  • [08] Five suspected of teenage gang rape

  • [01] Axe murder suspect acquitted of Kilani killing

    AFTER a 22-month trial, a 66-year-old Kilani villager was yesterday acquitted of charges of killing a fellow villager with an axe.

    The October 1997 murder of Mattheos Christofi, 60, stunned Kilani, a sleepy little village in the Limassol district. Christofi was felled by two hatchet blows in broad daylight on a village street.

    Michalis Efstathiou, known as Panis, was arrested soon afterwards.

    Police said the two vine-growers had long been worst enemies and had a history of arguments. No witnesses to the killing came forward, but police said they found scratches all over the Panis's body.

    Panis denied killing Christofi and said he got the scratches while out pruning his vines.

    The suspect was remanded on manslaughter charges and the case was later referred to the Limassol Assizes.

    Yesterday, the court acquitted Panis of the charges.

    The three-judge bench stated there was no concrete evidence linking Panis to the killing. The fact that Panis had a running feud with the victim did not prove he was responsible for the killing, the court ruled.

    The murder weapon has never been found.

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    Saturday, August 14, 1999

    [02] Turks release Canadian Cypriot

    By Martin Hellicar

    A CANADIAN Greek Cypriot was yesterday released from the occupied areas after spending 22 days in Turkish custody.

    Rogiros Georgiou, 48, returned to the government-controlled areas through the Ledra Palace checkpoint at around midday yesterday.

    He was apprehended by Turkish soldiers on July 21 after he lost his way while driving on the old Nicosia to Larnaca road, ending up at occupied Pyroi.

    Yesterday morning, he was brought up before a 'court' in the north and fined 200 million Turkish lira (about £250) for "entering a military area." Georgiou paid the fine and was released. His car was also returned to the government-controlled areas.

    Unficyp spokeswoman Sarah Russell said Georgiou was offered an examination by a UN doctor, but he declined.

    Georgiou, who lives at Kalo Chorio in the Limassol area, was then taken to Paphos Gate police station in Nicosia, Russell said. He was later allowed to return home.

    According to claims by his brother, Dafnis, Georgiou was systematically tortured while incarcerated in the north.

    After visiting his brother in captivity with the UN a week ago, Dafnis told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) Rogiros was being tortured by the Turks who were convinced he was a spy for the Greek Cypriot side. "My brother was left without food, water or cigarettes on a number of occasions," Dafnis said.

    Russell said at the time the UN had found no evidence to suggest the Georgiou was being abused.

    A total of nine Greek Cypriots and Greeks have strayed into the occupied areas this year, while 17 Turks and Turkish Cypriots have crossed the divide in the other direction.

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    Saturday, August 14, 1999

    [03] Israel thanks Cyprus for releasing spies

    By Athena Karsera

    ISRAEL yesterday expressed its gratitude to President Glafcos Clerides for his pardon of two Israeli spies.

    The two, Igar Damary, 49, and Udi Hargov, 37, were flown back to Israel after being released from prison on Thursday.

    Diplomatic sources told the Cyprus News Agency yesterday that "(Israeli president Ezer) Weizman had a long and very warm and friendly conversation with President Clerides on Thursday evening during which he thanked the President of Cyprus for suspending the sentence."

    Clerides also revealed that he had accepted an invitation from Weizman to pay an official visit to Israel. The trip will probably take place towards the end of the year.

    Weizman paid an official visit to Cyprus in November 1998, just days before the Mossad duo were caught snooping near military facilities in Zygi.

    Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak telephoned Clerides personally to thank him for the gesture.

    A Cyprus government press release on Thursday said Clerides had decided to grant the pardon and suspend the remainder of the prison term as their continuing imprisonment "no longer served the national interest."

    Damary and Hargov were sentenced to three years in prison in February this year for approaching a restricted area and possessing banned listening devices.

    Israeli papers yesterday reported that Attorney-general Alecos Markides had had a phone conversation with his Israeli counterpart on July 25 and had agreed that the two would not serve a sentence longer than one year.

    Papers in Cyprus, however, generally treated the spies' release with contempt.

    Haravghi's front-page headline yesterday read: "Ignoring the House, laws, authorities and the people's beliefs, they helped the agents escape!"

    The communist paper also reported that Akel had said: "The excuse of national interest is a cheap one."

    Politis

    said Cyprus was "a banana republic for agents too," while Simerini claimed "the Israeli spies were freed following pressure."

    Phileleftheros

    said "the release of the spies has created a crisis," while pro-government Alithia was more charitable, saying, "the decision to suspend the sentence came after Israeli suggestions," and that "opening up the Jewish lobby was the essence of the two Israeli agents' release."

    Diko deputy Nicos Kleanthous yesterday echoed the media outrage: "What happened had nothing to do with our national interest and I think it would be an exaggeration to say that such actions of ours contribute to peace."

    He was countered by Rikos Erotocritou from ruling Disy, who replied: "There were good reasons of national interest, even if these were not obvious."

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    Saturday, August 14, 1999

    [04] Date set for tourist's trial, victim still critical

    LARNACA district court yesterday ruled that a British tourist would face trial before the Assizes on charges of causing grievous bodily harm during an attack on a local chef.

    Judge Leonidas Kalogirou yesterday set the trial date for September 20.

    Gavin Kieran Gallimore is set to remain in custody until that date following a request by prosecution lawyer Pieris Athansiou yesterday. Defence lawyer Andreas Mathikolonis did not object.

    Gallimore, 30, was arrested in Ayia Napa last week following the vicious attack on cook Loucas Ioannou at the Black and White disco.

    There was no change in Ioannou's condition yesterday, with Nicosia General hospital still describing his condition as "critical".

    He remains on a ventilator at the hospital and doctors said there had been no improvement in his condition since he underwent surgery for a fractured skull.

    The incident is said to have happened after Ioannou accidentally bumped into the suspect in the packed disco.

    Gallimore, a quantity surveyor from Southgate, north London, is alleged to have punched the chef and slammed his head on the disco bar before the 28- year-old collapsed to the floor.

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    Saturday, August 14, 1999

    [05] Heat wave warning

    THE HEALTH Ministry yesterday issued a public warning as meteorologists predicted soaring temperatures over the holiday weekend.

    Temperatures in Nicosia yesterday hit a high of 40 degrees, with the thermometer expected to creep up a degree or two over coming days.

    According to the Ministry of Health, people should avoid heavy labour and stay out of the sun. Members of the public are also advised to avoid alcohol and heavy meals, use air conditioning and fans, and drink plenty of water. Old people, people with health problems and children are especially sensitive to the high temperatures.

    The warnings come after over 70 people -- most of them elderly -- died of heat-related ailments during last year's scorching summer, one the hottest since records began.

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    Saturday, August 14, 1999

    [06] Police seek father and son after boy abducted from UK

    By Charlie Charalambous

    POLICE are searching for an eight-year-old boy who arrived in Cyprus last week after being abducted from England by his father.

    "The father was allowed to see his son but he broke a court order and basically kidnapped the child and left England without the mother's permission," a Cyprus Interpol officer said yesterday.

    The Metropolitan police in Barkingside, London -- who are handling the case in England -- sent a message to Cyprus Interpol for assistance once they realised the dad had fled to the island on August 7.

    Savvas Stylianou, a 35-year-old British national of Greek Cypriot descent, breached an English court order to flee the UK with his son Anthony after a scheduled visit to his ex-wife's home.

    The boy's parents divorced in 1996; since then, he has been living with his mother Hellen but remains a ward of court.

    Local police have so far been unable to locate the boy and his father.

    They describe Anthony as suffering from "serious medical problems" and are checking whether he visited a private clinic on the island to seek treatment for his illness.

    "What we are trying to do is locate their whereabouts to facilitate the father's appearance in court. It's really a judicial matter," police spokesman Glafcos Xenos told the Cyprus Mail.

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    Saturday, August 14, 1999

    [07] Cypriots 'beat up tourists who rejected their advances'

    TWO SWISS tourists were severely beaten after rejecting the advances of a group of drunken Cypriot admirers, a court in Larnaca heard yesterday.

    Four young men took a fancy to two Swiss girls at an Ayia Napa bar in the early hours of Thursday morning and allegedly turned violent when the girls did not respond.

    The girls, Laura Shiogor, who suffered fractured ribs, and Desirée Ravioli, whose ear was badly bruised, were admitted to an Ayia Napa clinic after the attack.

    Yesterday, Famagusta police arrested one of the suspected culprits, 17-year- old National Guardsman Thomas Dimitri Kouspou, 17, from Sotira in the Famagusta district.

    He was later brought up before the Famagusta District court, convening in Larnaca.

    Investigating officer Andreas Constantinou, of Famagusta CID, told the court Kouspou had been arrested at his camp near Liopetri, Famagusta. He had confessed to involvement in the attack and named three friends of his as also involved, Constantinou told the court.

    Police were yesterday looking for the three men named by Kouspou. Kouspou told the court one of the three had been so drunk at the time of the attack that he kept falling asleep and had no part in the actual assault.

    The court remanded Kouspou in custody for eight days on suspicion of causing grievous and actual bodily harm.

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    Saturday, August 14, 1999

    [08] Five suspected of teenage gang rape

    By Charlie Charalambous

    FIVE Scandinavian men are in Cyprus police custody suspected of gang raping a teenage Swedish girl and photographing the acts at their hotel apartment in Ayia Napa.

    Remanded in police custody yesterday for eight days were three Norwegians, Alexander Moen, Geir Iversen and Torkil Mouthaugen, all aged 18, and two Swedes, Johan Oscar Persson, aged 16 and a half, and Peter Raenarsson, 17.

    All are being held at Paralimni police station under suspicion of indecent assault and rape. The three Norwegians are said to be from Trondheim and the Swedish suspects from Vaxgo.

    According to the allegations, the 16-year-old was repeatedly raped by the five men after a heavy drinking session. A complaint to police was made by a girl friend of the victim, who allegedly found her unconscious, naked, and with three men at the apartment where Iversen and Mouthaugen were staying.

    "During questioning, the three Norwegians have apparently admitted to indecently assaulting the 16-year-old and named their two Swedish friends as participants in the incident," said a police press office statement yesterday. "Some of those arrested have named one of the five as the rapist and said others took pictures," added the police statement.

    The alleged rape took place at midnight on Thursday at the Tsokkos Holiday Apartments in Ayia Napa after the three Norwegians and two Swedes met their victim at the hotel bar. It is understood that the girl and the suspects were all staying in rooms on the first floor of the apartment block.

    After the men started talking to the girl, the three Norwegians invited her up to their flat and then the two Swedish men followed, a Larnaca court heard earlier yesterday. Friends of the girl -- who were waiting to go to a local disco -- started to worry when she did not return after some time.

    When one of the girls went upstairs to the first floor she discovered the teenager naked and allegedly being raped by one person while two others were fondling her, the court heard. Apparently, the Swedish girl was only half-conscious due to consuming alcohol, investigating police officer Sotiris Aristidou told the court.

    "A friend of the girl said she came out into the corridor shouting ‘rape’, ‘rape’, at which time the five suspects abandoned the scene any way they could," said Aristidou.

    The five men were arrested at 10am yesterday morning and were said to be still in a drunken state when police found them. The suspects said they could not remember anything because they were too drunk.

    But, alleged police, when they sobered up later they gave voluntary statements admitting to taking part in the rape. They claimed the girl "responded positively" to being "touched up " and kissed.

    Police said they had taken possession of seven cameras and the film inside them. The suspects claimed, in their statements, that pictures were taken of the girl naked.

    She was taken to Larnaca General Hospital where she was examined by a state pathologist and state gynaecologist. "I examined her at midday and found nothing suspicious," state pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous told the court.

    District court judge Lemonia Kaoutzani agreed to the police request to detain the five suspects in custody for eight days. They were led away in handcuffs, two-by-two into waiting police vehicles and taken to holding cells.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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