A Filipina go-between in a gay adoption case, who was arrested on child trafficking charges, has been sentenced to six years in prison, while two men in the same case are still wanted by Cyprus police.
According to local media, a 47-year-old woman from the Philippines was convicted and sentenced by a Nicosia criminal court after facing multiple charges including trafficking of minors, perjury, circulating a fraudulent document, false misrepresentation, and document forgery.
The woman was accused of taking part in an illegal adoption of a 20-month-old child from the Philippines, while two men - one Greek Cypriot and one foreign national - were presumed to be the adoptive parents and are still wanted by Cyprus police on similar charges.
Prosecutors said the woman admitted to bringing a baby to Cyprus in 2017 and registering herself as the mother while a Greek Cypriot gay man was named the father. It later emerged that the biological mother of the child, who lives in the Philippines, had decided to put the baby up for adoption and had been receiving financial support from the man until the birth of the child.
Media sources said the biological mother of the child had listed the convicted woman’s name when she went to give birth at the hospital in the Philippines
Prosecutors argued that police investigators believed laws were broken in the adoption process and had contacted authorities in the Philippines to ascertain whether the baby was brought to Cyprus with the consent of the biological mother and whether the birth certificate was forged.
Knews was unable to confirm whether information from the Philippines was presented during the closed trial or whether a plea bargain had been reached in the case.
Media sources said the biological mother of the child had listed the convicted woman’s name at the hospital in the Philippines when she went to give birth. But it was not immediately clear whether the convicted woman and the Greek Cypriot suspect were parties to a lawful surrogacy arrangement.
The judge panel reportedly said the defendant’s crimes were “very serious” and that they would normally carry longer sentences, far exceeding the six years because they would have been consecutive.
The case was initially flagged by social welfare state officials who became suspicious over the case. Media reports said the Greek Cypriot man and the Filipina attempted to register the child’s birth certificate together in Cyprus, but when the man sought sole custody of the infant, staff at the Social Welfare office began to ask questions, prompting the man to withdraw the claim and raising even more suspicion over the case.
Previous reports said the convicted Filipina, a mother of two young children back in her native country, had initially travelled to Cyprus on a work visa to become a housemaid for the father of the Greek Cypriot suspect.
Child adoption by a gay couple remains illegal in Cyprus. An international arrest warrant has been issued for the two male suspects in the case.