A foreign man accused of kidnapping two teenagers in a public park in Nicosia says he did not do anything, but local media say the suspect admitted after his remand hearing that he held a boy and a girl against their will.
Local media said a 29-year-old male, accused of kidnapping a 14-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy at a park in Aglandjia last month, went before a judge without a lawyer and questioned the legality of his arrest.
The man, described as a foreign national, was apprehended this week after an undercover police officer identified him as a suspect in a kidnapping investigation where two teens last month said an unknown man approached them, tied them up, and took their mobile phones, while holding them at ransom between 5pm and 8pm.
'I came to Cyprus two months ago and had nothing to eat. They hit me, they made fun of me, and insulted my country'
But he says he did not do anything wrong.
“I came to Cyprus two months ago and had nothing to eat. They hit me, they made fun of me, and insulted my country,” the man told the judge through an interpreter.
He then questioned the legality of the prosecutor’s request for an 8-day remand but withdrew his objection when the judge explained that the court hearing was bout his remand and not a guilty verdict.
Police, who have been carrying out an undercover operation, identified this week the suspect by the man’s shoes, local media said, while a footer found during a home search was said to have resembled a cloth description given by the teens as well as local residents in the Aglandjia park.
Photos previously taken by citizens and shared with police were said to have helped in the operation.
According to the complaint, the alleged kidnapper demanded €25,000 from each family in order to let the kids go, while also threatening to take them to Famagusta district where he would kill them.
Later reports said the children said he finally let them go but asked them to come back the next day to pay €1000 each in order to get their phones back.
According to new information in the media on Wednesday, the 29-year-old suspect was purported to have admitted to police after his remand order that he had held the teenagers against their will for financial reasons.
The teenagers also claimed that the kidnapper was making obscene gestures at the girl.
Prosecutors have requested a police lineup as well as DNA samples from the suspect.