Cipro

Tales from the Coffeeshop: MPs’ declarations of assets brighten up a slow August

Cyprus Mail - 3 ore 52 min fa

THIS is the worst time of the year for news and gossip. Everyone is on holiday so we have to feed off scraps. Even the Trito radio show, the island’s main source of political news and platform for idiotic views shut shop all last week, replacing its programmes with songs. They are much more uplifting first thing in the morning than the boring rants of Junior, PP and comrade Andros, but not very helpful for column-writing.

I suppose I could write that this weekend is the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, but readers might think I am some kind of superannuated hippy, which I am not. Another option of course is our beloved Cyprob which pre-dates Woodstock and remains a source of inspiration for all of us, despite the fact that everything about it has already been said at least a million times before and there is no new angle.

This did not stop front-page headlines such as “Turkey waging war of nerves,” and “(UNSG) wants the setting to clear so he can measure the possibilities in the Kypriako (Cyprob)” on consecutive days in Phil. The Kathimerini website, meanwhile forecasted a “critical September for the Kypriako”, as the UNSG’s envoy Jane Holl Lute would be conducting a “breakneck tour of all the involved sides, to explore intentions, but also the possibility of speedy resumption of talks”.

But the winner of the week’s Cyprob cliché competition was not a news medium but the Famagusta municipal council which passed a resolution, stating “the Kypriako finds itself at the most critical arch of its history.” The same critical arch it was at two months ago and every month before that for the last 45 years.

 

AT LEAST we had the asset declarations submitted by our politicians 10 days ago to keep us amused. These are the biggest joke our politicians have ever played on us, reminding everyone that their only undisputable skill is fooling the mugs that vote for them.

They passed a mockery of a law, under pressure from the Council of Europe that was urging member states to take measures against corruption, which allows them to lie, mislead and misinform. They can write anything they like in their asset declarations, knowing that the information will be checked by nobody.

For appearances’ sake the legislature set up a committee for capital statements, made up of the president of the House and two deputies, that was supposed to carry out checks of the deputies’ declarations. The alleged self-regulation did not materialise because there was never any intention for the deputies to carry out checks on their colleagues. There is honour among thieves, but also among morally upstanding deputies, safeguarding transparency and exercising self-regulation.

 

EVEN though deputies made the law aimed at battling corruption through transparency totally ineffective they still could not resist showing their utter contempt for it.

When the new asset declarations were posted on the website for 2017, the ones submitted two years earlier for 2016 were taken down so people could not compare the two and establish if a politician had become richer in that time. That was the whole point of the joke law.

Not that any deputy, minister or president would provide data indicating that he/she became mega-rich since taking public office, but for appearances’ sake the earlier declaration should not have been removed. It would have made the myth of the fight against corruption slightly more believable.

Our deputies’ alleged commitment to transparency was, for want of a better word, rather transparent.

 

HATS OFF to Socratis Hasikos, former interior minister and Disy deputy, for being the only politician (even though he is no longer one) to have a go at this farce. He also submitted a realistic asset declaration for 2017 that put the value of his assets at €3 million, down from €3.38 million the previous year.

On his Facebook page, he posted the following about the law on the declarations: “It is at best ludicrous, hypocritical and misleading and justifiably provokes people, who, in turn mock all those that, according to the law submit their asset declaration. It is not possible to exclude spouses and offspring from this obligation. The message sent by those obliged to submit a declaration is ‘we can steal, but put it in the names of our wives and children’.”

When drafting the law, deputies ensured that spouses and offspring of politicians would be exempt from submitting a declaration. It would have been unconstitutional to include them, it was claimed at the time. Does the constitution actually safeguard the right “to steal but put in the name of our wives and children”?

 

PREZ NIK’S asset declaration made no attempt at honesty. His total personal assets were valued at about 213 grand, which is about as believable as his commitment to settling the Cyprob. He owned two flats in Limassol, which were listed at 1980s prices – 28 grand and 38 grand – prices at which you could not buy a garage in Limassol today.

They are probably worth five times as much now, but if he cannot be truthful about something so blatantly obvious what are the chances that the rest of his declaration is accurate? Before he became prez, his law office had some of the wealthiest Russian oligarchs as its clients. Had he not made a few millions from them, had he spent it all by the time he was elected, donated it to charity, given it to his daughters or is it in bank accounts in the name of his wife?

We shall never know because the law in Kyproulla protects the human right of politicians to hide their wealth.

 

THE ORGANISED Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) carried a long article about the Nicos Anastasiades Law Office and the services offered to two companies, behind which was Russian billionaire Alexander Abramov, for whom the law office reportedly secured Cypriot citizenship in 2010. It beggared belief that Prez Nik had a billionaire Russian as his client (and he was not the only one) and still failed to increase his personal wealth by at least a couple of million bucks despite money transfers, according to the OCCRP, in the region of €300 million.

The report pointed out very clearly that documents it had seen “do not contain any specific evidence that the firm or its employees broke any laws or committed any crimes.”

 

OF THE PARTIES, only Akel issued a statement about the OCCRP report while Tass News Agency, which usually reports everything written abroad about Kyproulla, did not mention it. On Saturday, government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou, issued a typically self-righteous statement.

“The president has expressed his disappointment, because once again he is being targeted along with Cyprus with libellous statements, which do not correspond to reality,” Prodromou said. The president was disappointed that a Cypriot media outlet had printed the libellous report, and compounded the defamation of the country and the president, he added.

Prodromou also reminded everyone that citizenship was given to Abramov by the Akel government, the interior minister at the time, Neoklis Sylikiotis, saying “there are matters of public interest, which justify the citizenship.” He did not deny that Abramov was a client of Nik’s law office, but he did mention that the OCCRP’s claims had been investigated by the US agency FINCEN, which found nothing to implicate Nik’s law firm.

 

THE OCCRP was not the only website to carry stories about the Prez’s law office. Back in 2016 the Kremlin mouthpiece, Russia Insider, carried extensive reports about another mega-wealthy Russian client of the law office, Leonid Lebedev who had filed a $2 billion claim in a New York court against Bank of Cyprus shareholder Victor Vekselberg and another Russian businessman.

https://russia-insider.com/en/irish-arrest-warrant-cyprus-leaders-lebedev-case/ri15613

Russia Insider carried a lot of ultra-critical reports of our Nik when it looked like he was working for a settlement, but all these stopped after he morphed into a super-patriotic hardliner.

What really boggles the mind is how a lawyer with so many billionaire clients (another was the former BoC vice chairman Vladimir Strzhalkovsky) could only have a personal wealth amounting to 200 grand?

 

 

BISHOP of Morphou Neophytos has finally responded to the heavy attacks he came under for his absurd theories on how homosexuals were created. He was waiting for the fasting period to be over before he spoke. He issued a brief statement Saturday, in which he prayed for an end to the catastrophic fires and earthquakes before adding:
“As regards another fire, about the flesh, the Holy Spirit and evil spirits that some lit for us, we will not make any comment, fully respecting the relevant police investigation currently under way.” After the public uproar about Neophytos’ claims, the AG ordered a police investigation in connection with incitement to hatred.

Neophytos has nothing to fear because while the police investigation was under way, priests and the faithful of his diocese were carrying out all-night prayer sessions asking the Almighty to give strength to their Bishop to withstand the attacks and carry on preaching the truth.

 

 

The post Tales from the Coffeeshop: MPs’ declarations of assets brighten up a slow August appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Categorie: Cipro

Napa rape trial: police tactics in the dock

Cyprus Mail - 3 ore 56 min fa

Police procedures under scrutiny as defence team prepares for Napa rape case

By Agnieszka Rakoczy

The defence team for the 19-year-old British woman who allegedly filed a false gang rape claim in Ayia Napa is expected to ask for more time to prepare her case when she next appears in court on Monday.

She will also learn whether she is to be remanded in custody yet again or freed on bail.

According to Nicosia lawyer Nicoletta Charalambidou, whose office recently took on the case, the 19-year-old will have by her side a team of Cypriot and UK lawyers, whose cooperation still requires official confirmation by the attorney-general.

“We’ll ask for more time,” Charalambidou told the Sunday Mail, adding that the UK team is expected to issue an official announcement on Monday.

The defence lawyers are joining forces in their attempt to prove substantial police mishandling of the case which shook Ayia Napa last month when the 19-year-old claimed she had been raped by 12 Israeli teenagers. Days later she recanted, before then saying she had withdrawn the rape claim only under duress.

The Pambos Napa Rocks hotel in Ayia Napa

 

Answers will be sought as to what prompted the 19-year-old to withdraw her rape claim leading to her arrest on grounds of public mischief, and why all the Israeli teens that were initially arrested were released and sent back home so quickly.

In the meantime, the woman is being held in the Nicosia prison and has not been offered bail. A crowdfunding campaign for her legal fees had raised £21,538 (€23,184) by last week.

According to at least one legal expert, the police may indeed have set in motion a series of procedural errors while investigating the initial alleged rape case. This, he believes, could leave them open to even being sued by the 19-year old.

“There are many questions surrounding the way the girl was treated from the very outset,” the expert, who prefers to remain anonymous, told the Sunday Mail.

“If she has good lawyers to prepare her case thoroughly, as both victim and suspect, she could even be in a position to sue the Cypriot authorities for mishandling the whole situation.”

One crucial question, he said, will be why the authorities were so quick to release the group of Israeli teenagers with whom the woman was allegedly involved.

“She can even file a complaint as to why the authorities released the Israeli teenagers without ever investigating who had made and subsequently released to the public the video recording showing her having sexual intercourse with some of the group.”

The expert says other questions over police procedures range from whether they ensured the confidentiality of sensitive aspects of the investigation process to possibly failing to inform the young woman of her basic rights as an alleged rape victim.

“The first question I would want to ask police and the prosecutor’s office is whether the woman was given the appropriate social and psychological support from the moment she reported the rape,” he said.

An appropriate professional should have been available to advise the woman over her rights and to assess her psychological state at the time she first met with the police.

According to the expert, Cyprus introduced European Union Directive 2012/29 into its legal system in 2016 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.

This directive has changed Cyprus law. According to the directive, a crime victim has a right to have a lawyer from the very beginning, and if they cannot afford a lawyer, the state should provide one.

“Was the girl told about it? Did she know that she should have been kept constantly informed as to whether there had been any changes in the procedure? These are particularly important factors since somehow her own status changed from one hour to the next — from victim to suspect — and even then she did not receive legal support immediately.”

Simply judging by the press reports, “it looks like she only saw her lawyer for the first time a couple of days after she was detained.”

Her original lawyer Andreas Pittadjis quit the case on August 7 citing serious disagreements with his client.

The expert also wonders whether the police gave enough attention to key details.

“Rape is a difficult crime to establish and prove,” he said. “Even if a woman consents to sexual intercourse, she can change her mind even while engaged in sexual activity. That is why the girl needed proper assistance from the very beginning so she can clear her mind as to what really happened.”

Even if she agreed to have sex with one or two or three boys but then changed her mind and said she wanted to stop because the others were filming her, this demanded further investigation.

Did the police treat the video as proof that the woman was there of her own free will and not consider the possibility that just after they stopped filming something else happened?

He also points out that, according to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women, should a rape victim decide to withdraw her earlier statement police may continue the proceedings in order to establish the truth.

“We are talking about a very complicated case. Yet the authorities seemingly decided just on the basis of the girl’s statement to let all the suspects go with immediate effect.”

Perhaps of greatest concern is whether there is a digital record of what happened during the eight hours during the course of which the woman apparently admitted to lying and as a result became the accused rather than the alleged victim. Media reports have said there is no such record.

“Every suspect has the right to have his or her statement recorded since this is the only way to know if their statements were made under duress,” the lawyer said.

The ongoing controversy has raised speculation to fever pitch as to what really happened in the by now infamous room of the two-star Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel. The hotel located in the centre of Ayia Napa, a vacation magnate for hundreds of thousands of tourists mostly from Europe and Israel.

While many people, mostly British and Israeli, have responded positively to the family’s crowdfunding plea, there are others convinced of the woman’s guilt.

“Of course, she’s not enjoying it now since the tables have turned [ie the girl is in jail]. But she sure as hell was enjoying the orgy that night,” one man has written on the Facebook under the news item about the girl’s trial.

“Some of these girls come over [to Ayia Napa] for alcohol tourism. Have sex with whoever they see…” commented another.

However, the Sunday Mail also talked to a group of British women, the same age as the suspect, who are staying currently at the same hotel in Ayia Napa and they are unanimous and adamant that under no circumstances do they believe she has fabricated the story.

“We feel so sorry for her. We are exactly the same age as she is and we simply don’t believe she has made the whole story up. No girl this age would just agree to have sex with such a big number of boys. It doesn’t make sense. Something bad happened in this room.”

Panayiotis Maos is the general manager of the Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel, which is the largest youth-catering establishment in Ayia Napa. Throughout the entire summer season, it averages between between 800 and 1000 guests mostly below the age of 25 on a daily basis. Maos prefers to stay neutral, pointing out other ramifications that need to be taken into account.

“The story goes from black and white to grey and it is complicated. I cannot say what happened in the room because it is not up to me to investigate it. It is the job for police. What I can say is that 13 families have been going through this now and it is very sad. And the case has already influenced Ayia Napa. In our hotel we have had some cancellations both from the Israeli and UK markets.”

In the meantime, the 19-year-old remains in pre-trial detention, which is another concern for the legal expert.

“The crime she is suspected of committing is of low danger and it doesn’t justify detention. She is 19 years old and she is a EU citizen,” he said.

“Even if she leaves Cyprus and goes to the UK there is a necessary and relevant system in place for judicial cooperation of member states in such cases. There is no excuse for her to be kept in jail.”

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Categorie: Cipro

Royal Peculiar to rescue queen from her government

Cyprus Mail - 4 ore 6 min fa

By Alper Ali Riza

Time was when British prime ministers drove across to Buckingham Palace to ask the queen to dissolve parliament and call a general election.

Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson, used it to good effect in 1966 and again in 1974. James Callaghan, who succeeded him as prime minister, famously dithered in October 1978. He called an election in May 1979 but it was too late. Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives won and stayed in power until Tony Blair defeated John Major in 1997.

Tony Blair was succeeded by Gordon Brown in June 2007. He too dithered when he could have won in October 2007. He lost to David Cameron in 2010 who formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

To win outright for the Conservatives in 2015, Cameron promised an in-out referendum on the EU.  He won with a majority of 17, but it was a Pyrrhic victory because in June 2016 Cameron had to hold the referendum he promised. He backed remain and lost and felt obliged to resign just one year into his administration.

The Brexit conundrum was not Cameron’s only legacy. In 2011 in an act of self-emasculation, he abolished the prime minister’s right to ask the queen to dissolve parliament.

The constitutional position now is that a parliamentary general election has to be held on polling day every five calendar years – usually the first Thursday in June. But an election can take place earlier than five years, either with the consent of a two-thirds majority in parliament or if parliament passes a vote of no confidence in the government and no alternative government gains a vote of confidence within 14 days.

In practice this means that after a vote of no confidence the queen can send for the leader of the opposition or some other leader who can command the support of parliament to form a government if the palace believes he or she can command a vote of confidence.

If no government is formed, a general election follows on a date appointed by royal proclamation on the recommendation of the prime minister. Parliament is then dissolved 17 days before polling day.

Theresa May announced a general election in the spring of 2017 to enable her to Brexit with a good majority. She followed the alternative two thirds majority route. She called an election in June 2017, but lost the overall majority she inherited from Cameron. She continued as prime minister of a minority government as leader of the largest party, but her inability to Brexit without tears proved her undoing and she resigned last July.

She handed over to Boris Johnson who is determined to leave the EU by October 31, 2019 with or without a withdrawal agreement; with or without the consent of parliament; with or without a general election; and with or without Scotland.

His justification for all this absolutism is that the British people voted to leave the EU, parliament voted to trigger exit from the EU under EU law; and parliament voted withdrawal legislation under which the default position is that the UK exits the EU on October 31deal or no deal.

There is a withdrawal agreement on the table. It was agreed by the May administration, but it cannot get parliamentary approval as required by the withdrawal legislation. Nevertheless, there is both a popular mandate in the shape of the 2016 referendum result and legislative cover to leave the EU by default. What is lacking is current parliamentary political approval or for Brexit without a withdrawal agreement.

So what is to be done? If nothing happens by October 31, the UK will leave the EU by default. I think Boris Johnson is bluffing, but his special adviser, the ardent Brexit campaigner Dominic Cummings, is not bluffing. According to David Cameron, Cummings is a career psychopath and his ilk do not bluff.

The most likely scenario is that there will be a vote of no confidence. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader said he will seek a vote of no confidence in September. The government will probably lose, but the Labour Party will be unable to form a Corbyn-led caretaker administration.

If no alternative government emerges Johnson must request the queen to dissolve parliament and recommend that polling takes place probably on Thursday, October 31 or Thursday, November 7. In other words, parliament will be impotent to prevent Brexit because it will stand dissolved for 17 days ending or straddling Brexit day. In this way, the UK can leave without a withdrawal agreement.

The question is whether the Royal Peculiar will allow Johnson and his ruthless Svengali Cummings to manipulate the queen’s exercise of her prerogative to appoint polling day. The Royal Peculiar is the name for the deep state in Britain that I picked up from the young Morse series on television called Endeavour.

Historically a Royal Peculiar is a church in a diocese that owes utmost allegiance to the monarch rather than the power-structure of the church. The Royal Peculiar is a metaphor for institutions and individuals with absolute loyalty to Her Majesty rather than the government of the day.

Every nation has a deep state. In Britain it revolves around monarchy. There really is no way that the prime minister can manipulate the queen by cynically timing his request to achieve no deal Brexit, especially if it threatens the unity of the kingdom.

There is little doubt that Scotland will have another independence referendum if Britain leaves without a deal. According to Cameron when he informed the queen that Scotland voted no in the independence referendum of 2014 she purred like a pussy cat, and she will fight like a tiger with the full backing of members of Royal Peculiar to preserve the unity of the United Kingdom.

And she has the law on her side too, for if a prime minister loses a motion of no confidence on exiting the EU without a withdrawal agreement, he cannot cynically recommend a date for polling day to achieve the very same policy for which he could not win a vote of no confidence. Such a recommendation would be unlawful on the ground of obvious irrationality and bad faith.

Alper Ali Riza is a queen’s counsel in the UK and a part time judge

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Categorie: Cipro

Independent committee should redraft law on politicians’ assets

Cyprus Mail - 4 ore 11 min fa

By Christos P Panayiotides

The statements of wealth of politically exposed persons, which were recently published for the second time, are a huge political scandal. Many commentators have already pointed out that, on the whole, the particulars published were totally meaningless and useless.

In September 2017, when these statements of wealth were first published, I pointed out – in no uncertain terms – that “including the assets and the liabilities of spouses and under-age children in the capital statements (an alternative term used to describe the statements of wealth) is an absolute must. Excluding spouses and children renders the process a totally meaningless and wasteful exercise. … You may as well scrap the system altogether, if you do not want to include the spouses and under-age kids”.

But this was not the sole problem that was identified at the time. I also suggested that the statements of wealth should be signed by the person compiling them and his/her spouse and that a certified public accountant needed to certify the statements for reasonableness and completeness and for being in harmony with other related records (such as accounting records kept, tax returns filed, bank statements etc.).

I said, at the time, that “the involvement of a professional accountant in the process will – as a minimum – eliminate the blatant mistakes committed by the ignorance and technical deficiency (and, possibly, the intention to mislead) of those having the obligation to compile and file such statements”.

Not to mention the adding (in relation to the values at which the individual assets are reported) of potatoes and apples to end up with a nice potato salad!

And I concluded my article by saying that “the failure to correct the serious problems and deficiencies identified in the legislation previously enacted would be a strong indication that the requirements (then) introduced were merely intended to give the impression that the public interest was being protected but, in reality, it was left as exposed as it could possibly be”.

Two years later, all the evidence is pointing in the direction that those who enacted the legislation governing the compilation and publication of statements of wealth were merely aiming at setting up a smoke screen.

I consider this behaviour on the part of our lawmakers as totally unacceptable. They are keeping quiet about this huge problem in the hope that the issue will be swept under the carpet, as happened two years ago. I believe that the public must exercise the political pressure necessary to address this fundamental problem of how our democracy is run.

The only way forward is to appoint an independent committee (comprising three independent accountants) to redraft the relevant legislation within a short period of time (say, a month) and present it for enactment as a matter of priority. A clear definition of what is required and spelling out the consequences of misleading the public in unambiguous terms are prerequisites for achieving the goals of the exercise.

Otherwise, the lawmakers should scrap the law because it is a useless and wasteful piece of legislation.

Christos Panayiotides is a regular columnist for the Cyprus Mail, Sunday Mail and Alithia

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Categorie: Cipro

Our View: Mass tourism and quality tourism are mutually exclusive

Cyprus Mail - 4 ore 16 min fa

TOURIST arrivals are down this year and hoteliers have reported lower occupancy rates compared to 2018 which saw the highest number of visitors – 3.93 million – in Cyprus’ history. A fall in arrivals was inevitable after three record years, said the under-secretary for tourism Savvas Perdios, “especially in a period in which the competition from Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco is continuously increasing”.

The increased competition could be overcome, said Perdios, once the deputy ministry’s efforts to restore flights that were lost in recent months bore results. The closing of Cobalt has not helped the situation either, but there are also exogenous factors at play. The fear of terrorist attacks in Turkey and Egypt, which greatly benefited Cyprus tourism in previous years, has receded, while the fall in the value of the Turkish lira has made Turkey a very attractive destination.

Another factor that nobody is mentioning with regard to the fall of arrivals is high prices. The boom years pushed up our prices, including hotel rates, but this year in order to arrest the decline in occupancies hoteliers were obliged to lower prices. Even though the decline was stopped, income had fallen markedly for all months of 2019 compared to the previous year, said the president of the Paphos Hoteliers’ Association Thanos Michaelides.

Despite the fall in arrivals more hotels are being built in the resorts. The supply of beds is expected to increase by 18 per cent (2,590) in the next three years, with the City of Dream Casino Resort in Limassol accounting for 1,000 of them. Meanwhile hoteliers have also been complaining about the competition from Airbnb, which is certain to increase as the high-rises under construction are completed and owners of flats put them on the market. Should we also mention the construction of marinas which always offer luxury accommodation and will be added to the Airbnb supply?

With the supply of accommodation for visitors progressively increasing, not only will hotel occupancy rates fall, but there will also be downward pressure on prices. How will the under-ministry for tourism deal with this issue? Will it secure more flights from new tourist markets in order to increase arrivals and increase occupancy rates? Perdios said that in the next few months the business plan and national strategy for tourism will be announced and will include a 10-year plan.

He gave an indication of what this will include by saying that it would also focus on “the upgrading of the product and the areas that need further development of tourism”. We have been hearing about government plans to upgrade our tourist product for at least 30 years, but all this time the priority has been on increasing the number of arrivals. How will the tourist product be upgraded if more tourists arrive and wherever they go, from beaches to squares, is overcrowded? And do we really need more development for tourism? Must we sacrifice the last few remaining unspoiled areas to tourist development?

The only business plan technocrats know is increasing tourist numbers, regardless of the consequences for the country and the added strain on its limited resources and the environment. There is never any mention of the word sustainability, the only objective being more arrivals so more hotels can be built, more beaches closed off and more restaurants and bars opened. To underline the superficial thinking, the very same people who are constantly striving to bring more tourists also claim they will upgrade the product and target quality tourism. They want mass tourism and quality tourism at the same time, ignoring that the two are mutually exclusive.

Now we have a deputy ministry for tourism, should it not question this long-sustained fallacy, carrying out studies on sustainability and the strain placed on the country’s resources by the pursuit of constantly growing numbers of arrivals? Should it not look at the trade-off between rising visitor numbers and quality of life for the locals. Perhaps four million arrivals a year is enough and we do not need further development for tourism, even though it boosts the construction sector and increases land values.

The negative consequences such as higher prices, market distortions, strain on natural resources, harm to the environment and the over-dependence of the economy on an unpredictable industry, all of which affect the quality of life of the local population should also be factored in when the deputy ministry prepares its business plan and strategy for tourism. Policy-makers must bear in mind it is not just numbers that matter.

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Categorie: Cipro

Morphou bishop stays mum over anti-gay statements

Cyprus Mail - Sab, 17/08/2019 - 19:02

Morphou Bishop Neophytos on Saturday broke his almost month-long silence over his anti-gay statements, but only to say he would not comment until an ongoing police investigation is completed.

“As another fire goes, of the body, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the evil spirits, which some have taken for granted, we shall not make any comment, respecting to the fullest regard the police investigation that is being conducted,” the statement from the bishop said.

Earlier in the month, the attorney-general’s office said it was investigating the bishop for hate speech for highly controversial statements he had made over homosexuality.

The bishop had said homosexuality is usually a problem transferred to a foetus, when a pregnant woman has anal sex and enjoys it. He also said gay men have a ‘nasty smell’ and a specific ‘stink’.

He also linked the murders of five foreign women and two children by serial killer Nicos Mataxas to abortion.

“In a country that carries out so many abortions and murders its children, is it impossible that a murderer could be among us?” he said.

The bishop said it was hypocritical to be saddened by the death of the two children killed by Metaxas when Cyprus carries out so many abortions.

He said that the “murders” were finished and that Metaxas asked for forgiveness form a priest, and confessed to the priest. Metaxas was earlier this summer sentenced to seven life sentences for the murders.

The bishop has been widely criticised by politicians, non-governmental organisations, and other state officials.

According to daily Phileleftheros, the investigation on the bishop’s statements is expected to be finished next week.

 

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Categorie: Cipro