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Greek Cypriots freed, Spokesman criticises regime for ''arrests''
2005-05-04 14:20:46

Nicosia, May 4 (CNA) - Five Greek Cypriots who were illegally detained Tuesday in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus after cutting some flowers from their occupied property, were freed on Wednesday.

The five Greek Cypriots, who included Chief Editor of ''Mahi'' newspaper Pambos Mitides, were freed with bail set at 200 pounds (around 400 US dollars) valid for one year. The amount was not paid.

In statements to CNA, Mitides said that along with four other Greek Cypriots, yesterday afternoon, they visited his father's coffee shop, now turned into a restaurant, in the Turkish occupied village of Karmi. The building is now occupied by foreigners.

Mitides' wife and sister entered the yard and cut a flower, causing the foreigners to react. A Briton reported to the so-called police that the area was illegally entered and the Greek Cypriots were apprehended as they were passing from the village of Trimithi. They were led to a so-called police station in Kyrenia and were not allowed to contact their families until eleven o'clock at night. They were then led to cells and this morning appeared before an illegal court where they were ordered to pay 200 pounds by a ''judge''. The money was not paid.

Earlier Wednesday, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the occupation regime is taking spasmodic measures to handle the international outcry against the theft of the property belonging to Greek Cypriots. The ''arrest'' of Mitides and the other Greek Cypriots showed just that, he added.

The Spokesman further said those foreigners who have ''bought'' property in the occupied areas must realise that they have performed an illegality and will be subject to a wider legal control by courts and not only national courts but also international courts, such as the European Court of Human Rights.

He also said the respect of human rights is everyone's obligation.

Asked if the government associated the illegal arrests with the threats against a certain Greek Cypriot who has lodged a lawsuit on property issues, the Spokesman said, ''I believe, yes, because it is completely irrational and exaggerated to be arrested for cutting some flowers.''

He also said the Briton's action was the action of a scared illegal resident, caused in the occupied areas of Cyprus due to the continued illegality and the international outcry over this illegality.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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