A woman from the Philippines, who acted as a go-between in a gay couple child adoption, remains in prison without a formal attorney after her arraignment was pushed back on Wednesday.
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The 47-year-old woman, who has been in police custody since January 17, appeared before a criminal court in Nicosia for her arraignment to answer to multiple charges including trafficking of minors.
She is being accused of taking part in an illegal adoption of a child from the Philippines, with two men in Cyprus as the adoptive parents who still remain at large and are believed to be overseas.
Request for attorney still pending
But the hearing was postponed, with the prosecutor citing delays in the woman’s pending request for legal assistance. The judges heard that state authorities were still putting together a financial report as part of the defendant’s request for a court-appointed attorney. A public defender has stepped in until an official decision is announced by the court.
Police sources told Knews the woman, who is being held in Central Prisons in Nicosia, was not expected to be released if she got a new date for her arraignment.
The woman denies taking any money for her mediation services, while reports said the biological mother gave birth under the defendant’s name
Back in 2017, the Filipina reportedly brought the infant from her country and registered herself as the mother along with one of the main suspects, described as a Greek Cypriot man.
The biological mother of the child, who lives in the Philippines, had been receiving financial support from the two men until the birth of her child, while it was reported that she had decided to give the baby up for adoption.
The gay couple reportedly sent monthly payments to the biological mother in the Philippines until the birth of the baby, while unconfirmed reports said they made previous adoption attempts that failed, as gay adoption is not legal in the Republic of Cyprus.
Investigators were reportedly checking with authorities in the Philippines to ascertain whether the mother had given her consent for the adoption. The Filipina in custody denies taking any money for her mediation services while Cypriot authorities are also looking into possible involvement by an employment agency, which allegedly advised the two men on the procedure to adopt a child.
The defendant had travelled to Cyprus on a work visa to become a housemaid for the father of the Greek Cypriot suspect.
Charges include conspiracy to commit felony, trafficking of minors, document forgery and fraud, and perjury. But it not clear whether Cypriot authorities will go forward with kidnapping charges against the woman, as the biological mother in the Philippines had used the defendant’s name at the hospital when she went to give birth.
A new arraignment date was set for March 13.