A woman in Paphos who was arrested for refusing a random search over the weekend is now facing sex solicitation charges.
According to local media, a 42-year-old woman from Nepal was stopped by police in a downtown area in Paphos on Saturday afternoon, when she was asked by officers to identify herself.
The woman reportedly refused to provide her name and was subsequently detained.
Local media said police had gathered information about illegal activities downtown but no details were made known about the incident
It was not immediately clear what prompted the search in the first place but the foreign national, who was said to have been lawfully residing in the Republic of Cyprus, was taken to a police station for booking.
She was later charged with sex solicitation and then released.
Random police searches without consent or probable cause are unlawful in the Republic of Cyprus, where individuals not suspected of a specific crime have the right to decline a pat down or to identify themselves to an officer.
Additional reports in the media said police had gathered information about illegal activities in the downtown area while no further details were made known about the incident.
Prostitution is not illegal in the Republic of Cyprus where the sex industry remains unregulated.
But a maximum five-year prison sentence may be handed down to “anyone who persistently solicits sex in public or excessively harasses other people of the same or opposite sex for immoral purposes.”
Controversial legislation introduced in 2019 further criminalizes the solicitation of sexual services where customers buying sex cannot plead ignorance in cases where a sex worker has been trafficked or is under the control of a pimp.