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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-02-01

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek Cypriots detained - Illegal regime
  • [02] Desalination - Israel
  • [03] Israelis - Jail sentence
  • [04] Israelis - Court proceedings - Sentence

  • 0850:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Greek Cypriots detained - Illegal regime

    Nicosia, Feb 1 (CNA) -- Cypriot police and the UN are trying to secure the release of two Greek Cypriots, abducted by the Turkish occupation troops in the island's northern part.

    Police said one of them, Dinos Anastasiou, 50, from Kakopetria village, was apprehended Sunday lunchtime in the UN buffer zone as he was picking asparagus in the fields.

    He was arrested by Turkish troops and was transferred to an unknown location, they added.

    A second Greek Cypriot George Ioannou, 47, from a Nicosia suburb, is still being held illegally after his arrest last Wednesday under unknown as yet circumstances.

    CNA MM/GP/1999

    [02] Desalination - Israel

    Nicosia, Feb 1 (CNA) -- A joint venture by two Israeli companies has won the bid to build the island's second desalination plant, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Costas Themistocleous has announced.

    "In less than two years, in fact in the second half of 2000, we will have constant supply of water to all households, with 40.000 cubic metres daily," he said.

    The tender was won by the joint venture of IDE and OCEANA and construction will start after the contract is signed and once a report on the repercussions on the environment is examined by the relevant authorities.

    The government will buy the water from the joint venture at the cost of 42,2 cent per cubic metre (about 85 US cents).

    The cost to operate the unit is expected to reach nearly 20 million Cyprus pounds (about 40 m. dollars).

    Commenting on the volume of water saved in reservoirs around the island, Themistocleous said "dams now have 30 m. cubic metres of water, which is about 11 per cent of their total capacity, but we are far behind the amount of water we need for the year.

    CNA MM/GP/1999

    [03] Israelis - Jail sentence

    Larnaca, Feb 1 (CNA) -- Two Israelis, facing charges of approaching a prohibited military area and possessing banned listening devices without due permission, were sentenced here today to three years in jail on the first count and six months imprisonment on the second count.

    The two, Udi Hargov, 37, and Igal Damari, 49, were arrested in November last year in the southern coastal village of Zygi after police were tipped off about their suspicious activities.

    The two sentences will run concurrently. Espionage charges were dropped by the prosecution on Friday for lack of evidence and the two admitted loitering near a restricted area and possessing illegally listening equipment.

    Attorney General Alecos Markides had dismissed suggestions that he bowed to pressure and changed the charges, stressing his decision served the public interest.

    He also revealed that Israeli government officials, US Senators and European officials had pressed on with the government the view that the operation the two Israelis were involved in was not directed against Cyprus' interests.

    Markides described developments in the case as "a balanced solution", noting that a trial would have brought sensitive information relating to the country's security into the open.

    The government came under fire from all quarters about the decision to drop spying charges, and headlines in the local press condemned the decision. (More later)

    CNA MAN/MM/GP/1999

    [04] Israelis - Court proceedings - Sentence

    Larnaca, Feb 1 (CNA) -- Cyprus does not have the luxury to allow or tolerate this type of activity, Assize Court Judge Giorgos Arestis, told the Court when passing sentence on two Israelis convicted to three years in jail for approaching a prohibited military area.

    He also pointed out that in passing the jail sentence the three-bench Court took into account the seriousness of offences, especially at a time when the dangers to the very existence of Cyprus are an obvious reality.

    "We feel the need to remind (everybody) that Cyprus is partially occupied (by Turkey) and is fighting a battle against a very well equipped enemy in military terms in order to survive as a state and as a nation," Judge Arestis said.

    He said there was no evidence before the Court that the two Israelis had collected any information or had harmed the interests or the security or the defence of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Igal Damary, 49, and Udi Hargov, 37, were arrested in early November and initially charged with spying.

    On Friday, the prosecution dropped the spying charges and the two Israelis entered a guilty plea on charges of approaching a restricted area and possessing banned listening equipment without the permission of the Cypriot authorities.

    "We cannot ignore the fact that at the time of the committed offence (approaching restricted area) serious military activity was underway," the Judge said, pointing out that sentences on this type of offences must act as a deterrent.

    Judge Arestis said the defendants' clear police record and their family circumstances were taken into account in passing sentence.

    Referring to the details of the case, he said the Court could not accept the events as outlined by the defence that the two were part of an operation to try and avert terrorist attacks against Israel and they were not acting against the interests of the Cyprus government.

    The prosecution did not accept this version of events either because they related to information beyond the knowledge of the prosecution, which called on the defence to prove its claims.

    The defence said it would not proceed with evidence to its testimony as this would endanger lives.

    CNA MAN/MM/GP/1999
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