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11 May, 2021
 
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Prosecutors seek murder trial without body

Evidence unclear but suspects in key witness disappearance case could stand trial for premeditated murder

Newsroom

Prosecutors in a key witness disappearance investigation are asking a judge to modify felony conspiracy charges to murder, despite having no body to prove evidence in court.

According to Philenews, prosecutors have asked a Limassol criminal court to modify charges against two suspects in the disappearance of ex-con and key witness Ahmed Zaidan, who was believed to have been seen for the last time when he was being forced into the trunk of a car at gunpoint in Erimi, on the northern outskirts of Limassol.

Two male suspects, a 35-year-old Syrian and a 30-year-old Iraqi, are currently facing felony murder in connection with kidnapping charges in the case.

Prosecutors say they want to file charges of premeditated murder, despite no body having been found, while it was unclear whether they had forensic or circumstantial evidence to prove murder intent

Zaidan, a 31-year-old Limassol resident, was kidnapped and possibly executed after his release from prison. He went missing on Valentine’s Day in 2020 with his disappearance reported to police a week later. 

Additional reports said Zaidan, originally from Syria, was under the witness protection programme, while he was known to police and had served a one year sentence for burglary. He had been arrested along with a Kurdish man from Turkey last year in a high risk takedown in Limassol.

According to Philenews, the defence attorneys in the case are expected to object to the new charges, with a hearing scheduled for April 19.

Felony murder, a broader term for an unlawful killing, is typically a crime term that can be proven through a number of other linked crimes, such as kidnapping, burglary, and rape, without prosecutors having to prove murder intent.

But while prosecutors said they wanted to file charges of premeditated murder, without the body ever having been found, it remained unclear whether they had forensic or circumstantial evidence to prove murder intent.

Another 40-year-old man from Jordan who allegedly met with Zaidan on the day of the disappearance, had been detained and later released, while the 30-year-old suspect is also said to be a main defendant in another drug case involving a network of meth-manufacturing.

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