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Cyprus News | Police Foil Attorney-General Assasination Plot

This seems a somewhat drastic solution if you do have a beef with the current Attorney General.

“By George PsyllidesPublished on October 30, 2012

One of the suspects being led away from court yesterday

POLICE said yesterday it foiled a plan to assassinate Attorney-general Petros Clerides after the arrest of three suspects and the seizure of an anti-tank weapon.

The three, including a convict and a former contract soldier, and another man from the Famagusta district were arrested on Sunday night and were remanded in custody for eight days yesterday.

The hearing yesterday took place amid strict security measures with armed counter terrorism officers placed inside and outside the packed court room.

The convict was the alleged mastermind while the former soldier was allegedly to be the proposed trigger man. The convict represented himself during the lengthy hearing.

The three had allegedly been planning to assassinate Clerides somewhere on the route from his office to his home using a Light Anti-tank Weapon or LAW, which police said was of Turkish origin.

They also planned the assassination of at least one more official – reports said the target was central prison governor Giorgos Tryfonides.

Police did not confirm yesterday whether Tryfonides was a target but they said they had information suggesting there was a target list, which they have not yet recovered.

“The mastermind behind these planned assassinations is an individual currently doing time at the central prison,” police chief Michalis Papageorgiou said.

Authorities had been informed of the alleged plot earlier this month.

On October 12, they found the LAW and replaced it with an unarmed identical launcher and after placing their own agent in the operation they let it run its course until Sunday evening.

The weapon had been switched at its undisclosed drop-off point near a church in Larnaca. It was allegedly left there by the third suspect, who, reports said, sells lottery tickets.

Police arrested the former soldier at around 8pm near Prodromos Avenue in Nicosia.

“We located the suspect (shooter) at a specific location and he was arrested the moment he received the empty launcher,” Papageorgiou said.

The other two were arrested later.

Papageorgiou did not say where the armed LAW was found but he said it was not the same location where the first arrest took place on Sunday.

The chief said the suspect had agreed with the police agent to collect the weapon from that location, which was not far from the spot where he would ambush Clerides.

The convict, the alleged mastermind, denied he was the ring leader and claimed that the whole scheme had been hatched by the island’s most notorious convict, Antonis Prokopiou Kitas, currently doing life for the murder and rape of two women.

“His objective was to win the attorney-general’s favour and secure his release from prison,” the suspect told the Nicosia district court during his remand hearing. He implied that Kitas had masterminded the plan specifically so that he could warn the police ahead of time and then take credit for ‘saving’ Clerides’ life. The police received the information from the person who instigated the plot, he added.

The convict went a step further, alleging that “Kitas had organised the abduction of the President’s grandchild and I stopped him.”

Kitas was found guilty last year of masterminding the theft in 2009 of the body of the late Tassos Papadopoulos, a former president. In its verdict, the court said Kitas had asked his brother to steal the body in the hope of negotiating a shorter prison term by later ‘helping’ authorities track down the remains.

Papageorgiou said the force would have more to say on the child kidnap allegations when they received the suspect’s testimony.

Questioned yesterday on the matter, Clerides himself said he had had no suspicions that anyone was trying to kill him, and referred reporters to the police.

The attorney-general said he was not going to request additional security.

“I do not feel unsafe,” he said.

I am sure Mr. Clerides does not feel safe and it has to be indicative of the general sense of dissatisfaction felt by ordinary men and women in the ROC. However, it is always better to make that dissatisfaction felt through the ballot box. Murder and mayhem is not the answer.

Anon

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