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Media Watch 2003

16 May 2003
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 16 May 2003.
Greek Cypriots arrested in north

Possession of building stones, fishing rods and a church bell were reason enough for occupation regime authorities to arrest eight Greek Cypriot day trippers who crossed into the north yesterday.

Among those detained was a family of four who were suspected of trying to “smuggle” antiquities back to the government-controlled south.

Police said Ezekiel Ioannou, 60, along with his 23-year-old daughter, son-in-law and four-year-old grandson were detained by Turkish Cypriot “police” at the Ayios Dhometios control point Tuesday night on their return from their occupied Famagusta village of Flamoudi.

A search of their car turned up stones “police” suspected were antiquities the family was trying to smuggle back south.

All four were taken to a Famagusta “police station” where a Turkish Cypriot archaeologist confirmed that the family was lugging nothing more valuable than stones they had taken from their Flamoudi home as a keepsake.

They were subsequently released and crossed over through the Strovilia control point shortly after midnight.

Another car search at the Ayios Dhometios control point Tuesday led to the arrest of Paliometocho residents Neophytos Demosthenous, 51, and Theoris Christoforou, 75.

The two men were driving back to the free south with a church bell in the back of their pick-up truck.

The men had apparently made arrangements to bring the bell back to Paliometocho after learning that the Turkish Cypriot “community leader” of their native village of Skylloura had the relic in storage and wanted to give it to them.

They were released Wednesday after a Turkish Cypriot “court” impounded their truck as collateral for their bail set at È3,000 and ordered that they reappear for their “trial” at a date to be set later. 

Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriot press reported that two men, George Georgiou, 36, and Panayiotis Hambis, 32, were taken into custody for allegedly fishing near the occupied village of Davlos without a “permit”.

The men were released after being fined È120 each.

Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides called the arrests illegal, saying they are evidence of Rauf Denktash loosing his cool after seeing that his long-held views that Greek and Turkish Cypriots can’t live together don’t have a leg to stand on."