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12° Nicosia,
28 November, 2021
 
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Cyprus’ unique terror court case turns topsy-turvy

Lebanese male accused of threatening President Anastasiades changes plea yet again

Newsroom

A defence attorney for a man accused of threatening Cyprus’ president threw a topsy turvy on Tuesday before a Limassol judge, who was scheduled to pass sentence in the country’s unprecedented terror case.

According to local media, a 37-year-old Lebanese male accused of threatening President Nicos Anastasiades last November appeared before a district judge on Tuesday at the Limassol courthouse, where he was expected to hear facts and sentencing after he purportedly pleaded guilty last week to a number of charges.

But the lawyer of the defendant told the judge that her client wished to enter a change of plea, with the judge scheduling a new hearing for next month.

It was still not fully clear whether there were previous attempts to alter charges or a deal reached between state prosecutors and the defendant, who was said to be out of immigration status

The defendant had originally pleaded not guilty following his arrest last November, when police officers apprehended him in a village outside Limassol after authorities received information from foreign intelligence identifying him as a terrorist sympathizer.

The suspect had reportedly made comments on social media about the killer of a French teacher in Paris, with a post on Facebook appearing to praise a Chechen teenager who beheaded the 47-year-old educator in broad daylight.

He then reportedly made threats against Anastasiades, who had joined other foreign leaders on social media to condemn the crime.

It was still not fully clear whether there were previous attempts to alter charges or a deal reached between state prosecutors and the defendant, who was said to be out of immigration status

But local media suggested that "incitement to commit terrorism" was a charge still included in court documents, making this the first ever such case to be tried in the Republic of Cyprus.

The defendant was read again all charges against him in relation to inciting terrorism and he is due back in court on October 14.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Limassol  |  terrorism  |  Lebanon  |  court  |  online threats  |  crime  |  police

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