Another murder suspect wanted in the north in the murder of a Nicosia businessman has been handed over to Turkish Cypriot authorities, as anti-crime cooperation between the two communities continues.
According to Cyprus News Agency, Pakistani national Imran Ashan was handed over to Turkish Cypriot law enforcement officials on Saturday in connection with the murder of Turkish Cypriot currency exchange owner Gokhan Naim, who was gunned down earlier this year in broad daylight outside his residence in north Nicosia.
The transfer of the suspect from Greek Cypriot police in the south to their counterparts in the north was made possible through the bicommunal crime committee with the assistance of UN officers in the buffer zone.
The prosecutor described Ashan’s role as 'passive' in the robbery and murder in north Nicosia back in March
Following his transfer in the north, Ashan appeared before a Turkish Cypriot judge who ordered the suspect to be remanded in custody for three days.
Court documents were not made immediately available while Turkish Cypriot media said the prosecutor described Ashan’s role as “passive” in the robbery and murder. The suspect did not object to his detention according to local media, with reports saying he did not utter a single word during the legal proceedings.
Ashan was believed to have fled south with another person immediately after the murder in March. Back in early August, Azmad Ali Virk was also handed over to the north, after his arrest in the south at Larnaca International Airport while attempting to fly out of the Republic. Virk had served a brief sentence in the south on document forgery charges.
LCA airport officers had received an alert on Virk through the communication channels of the bicommunal crime committee shortly after Naim’s murder, which led to two suspects being detained. It was unclear when the two suspects were apprehended in the south while the handing over took place following an informal meeting between the two Cypriot leaders on the divided island.
Over the summer there has been an increase in suspect swaps between the two communities, especially involving murder and attempted murder suspects.