A detained suspect in the fatal stabbing of a foreign national in downtown Nicosia has been ordered to remain in custody, as police investigators are still searching for another suspect.
Crime investigator Stavriani Andreou told a Nicosia district judge on Tuesday that the investigation into the death of 24-year-old Ahmed Bin Talib was in an “advanced stage” and that police needed more time.
Andreou said police obtained CCTV footage in connection with the fatal stabbing incident on Rigenis Street on February 23, including a video showing three individuals in the same frame. One video shows a man, identified as the 22-year-old detained suspect from Palestine, falling to the ground and an object falling next to him around 4:30am.
Two other individuals are seen in the footage, the victim as well as another suspect believed to be 27-year-old Mohammad Alshalal from Syria, who remains at large. According to what was heard in court, the detained suspect is seen in the video grabbing the object, believed to be a pocket knife, and getting up as the victim approaches him.
“The video shows the 22-year-old moving his left arm towards the victim and striking him in the front,” Andreou said.
In another video, the two suspects are seen running away towards Ledra Street, with Talib giving chase for a several metres. At one point, the 22-year-old suspect stopped running and attempted to have a verbal exchange with the victim, who appeared to be out of breath and collapsed seconds later.
Talib was later found dead with a stabbing wound in the chest, while police said a video showed a 29-year-old Nigerian man grabbing money from the victim’s pocket as he was lying on the ground. The robber was arrested but later released, with investigators saying he was not involved in the murder.
In previous reports, local media said the 22-year-old man had admitted to investigators that he stabbed Talib but did not realize that the victim had died.
But during the remand hearing, the suspect denied making that statement, with some reports suggesting he had told officers he would say what he had to say in a court of law.
Police say they have information suggesting that the Palestinian man had a knife in his possession on the night of the attack, while investigators sought phone records of the two suspects to examine possible phone calls before and after the incident.
Reports said police were also investigating whether the Palestinian man sought help to flee the Republic of Cyprus, while also looking into information about the Syrian suspect calling up the 22-year-old and asking him to “leave me out of this.”
Local media said the Palestinian man may have attacked other people while holding a knife, including moments prior to the Rigenis incident. Police are also following up on a lead about a similar incident that allegedly took place on January 28 at a local night club.
Police believe Talib’s death was related to local drug wars, while charges in the case include premeditated murder, aggravated robbery, illegal possession of a knife, as well as drug possession and drug trafficking.
Talib came to Cyprus in July 2019 where he sought asylum. Reports said he was initially living in Nicosia but later moved to Famagusta for work.