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Cyprus

Verdict on Mari explosion expected on July 9

The Criminal Court trying the 2011 Mari naval base blast that killed 13 people and incapacitated the island’s biggest power station will issue its verdict on July 9, it was announced on Thursday.

Six people, including two former ministers face charges in connection with the July 11 munitions explosion that killed seven sailors and six firemen.

The announcement was made by presiding judge Tefkros Economou after the two sides finished their closing arguments.

Former ministers of defence and foreign affairs Costas Papacostas and Marcos Kyprianou have been charged with manslaughter and causing death through a negligent act for their involvement in the events leading up to the explosion at the Evangelos Florakis base.

Former National Guard deputy commander Savvas Argyrou, fire service chief Andreas Nicolaou, deputy chief Charalambos Charalambous, and Andreas Loizides, the commander of the disaster response squad EMAK also face the same charges.

The munitions had been seized from the Monchegorsk, a Syria-bound Cyprus-flagged ship that sailed from Iran.

They were confiscated in February 2009 after it was determined they were in breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions on Iran.

They had been stored in 98 containers that were left exposed to the elements until the day they exploded, also crippling the island’s biggest power station, which was right next door.

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