A foreign man who was convicted of killing a 21-year-old Indian national during a clash in downtown Nicosia last June has been sentenced to life, with others also getting prison sentences for taking part in the attacks.
Six defendants, all foreign nationals, were on trial facing premeditated murder and manslaughter charges in connection with the death of a 21-year-old Indian student in Nicosia.
The foreign student was stabbed to death on June 21 near Ledras, downtown Nicosia, during a clash between Indian nationals while some reports said Bangladeshi nationals were also involved.
No motive was specified during the trial but the defendant was convicted following his own admission to premeditated charges, according to redacted court documents
The altercation took place after the victim and a friend were confronted by a friend of the defendants, who is still wanted by police, with things getting out of hand as over a dozen men got into a fight.
A panel of judges on Monday handed down a life sentence to one defendant on premeditated charges, while four others got sentences ranging between 7 and 17 years in connection with offences including manslaughter by unlawful killing, attempted murder, knife possession, and aggravated assault.
No motive was specified during the trial but the defendant was convicted following his own admission to premeditated charges, according to redacted court documents.
A public defender argued that the defendants did not confront the victims with malice aforethought.
But prosecutors presented evidence from police investigations showing the defendants physically implicated themselves in the attacks and also five of them said they saw the other defendant stabbing the victim with a knife he had in his pocket.
Reporters were not allowed into the Nicosia courtroom due to coronavirus restrictions imposed by local officials, but according to court documents, where names and nationalities had been redacted, there was a sixth defendant whose charges had been dropped after a request by the prosecution.
The state prosecutor, according to court documents, requested that all charges be dropped and prosecution suspended for the defendant, while it was not clear whether he had turned witness for the prosecution.
During sentencing, the judges said they took into account the defendants’ immediate admission of guilt and cooperation with police investigators, but in the case of premeditated murder they said life in prison was the only outcome by law.
The judges said they also took into account the life circumstances of the remaining four defendants, including economic hardships, but spoke of the need to promote a sense of security among the public, saying hefty prison sentences were still necessary to serve as a deterrent.
“Based on the facts, which have not been contested, the attack against the victim in regards to the [unlawful killing] offence was carried out with a knife, which the defendant had in his possession in advance and struck vital organs,” the judges said.
The judge panel also said the attempted murder charge was also based on the use of a knife, which was held by another defendant who had it in his possession earlier.
“The stabbings were carried out while a physical clash was taking place where all of the defendants took part, without any of them disassociating their behaviour,” the judges added, going on to explain further that “the use of assault instruments during the altercation is an aggravating factor in this case.”
The judges also said the police would remain in possession of any evidence regarding the case, citing another suspect’s outstanding warrant.
Police told Knews one suspect was still wanted but clarified that a number of warrants have been issued in the case, some made public and others kept in private for operational reasons.