By Constantinos Psillides
A 14-year-old girl who police were seeking in connection with an alleged rape and kidnap case involving a 59-year-old known Larnaca businessman, went to police on Sunday.
The girl, escorted by her parents, arrived at the Larnaca police station where she was questioned at length.
She, and another girl, 15, were allegedly kidnapped and raped by the businessman and a 35-year old on April 28.
The case came to light after the 15-year-old reported the incident to police on April 30. Both men were arrested and remanded for six days.
The first girl had told police officers she met the 35-year-old on Facebook and arrange to meet with him, only to be kidnapped and taken to his apartment.
She told police she was beaten and raped by the 35-year -old, while forced to take drugs. She said that the 14-year-old came to the man’s apartment, asking to be paid for sexual services. The 35-year-old was said to instead have had sex with the 14-year-old and then taken both of them to an apartment in Larnaca, where the 59-year-old was expected to arrive. The girl told police that the two men proceeded to have sex with both of them.
The 15-year old girl’s testimony immediately prompted a five-day search for the other girl that ended on Sunday.
According to a police source, the 14-year-old corroborated the story told by the 15-year-old, adding that she was forced to have sex with the older man for over a year and that he used to film her. Police confiscated computers and mobile phones belonging to the two men, found at both apartments.
The 14-year-old also accused the 35-year-old of causing her to become addicted to cocaine and for forcing her into prostitution. Cocaine and cannabis were found in the 35-year-old’s apartment, according to the police report.
Following the publicity the case received, the mother of the 15-year-old called an afternoon talk show on Friday, claiming her daughter has been taking drugs since she was 10 and that her father had long since abandoned them. The mother added that the girl was a former track athlete and that she tried to get help to deal with her addiction but couldn’t find a rehabilitation programme suitable for minors.
Appearing before the court on May 1, the 59-year-old’s lawyer said that his client was “emotionally devastated” and promised to fully cooperate with authorities. The 35-year-old appeared without a lawyer and denied all charges and added that both girls had sex with him willingly. He claimed that he met both girls on Facebook and that both of them were prostitutes. The 35-year-old said that he didn’t know how old they were.
The businessman is being held on suspicion of conspiring to commit a felony, solicitation and corrupting a minor. The 35-year-old is faced with the more serious charges, since the police are accusing him of sex-trafficking a minor, kidnap, rape, causing actual bodily harm, solicitation and theft. Police are also trying to build a case around the narcotic substances found in his apartment.
Both men will appear before the Larnaca District Court on Wednesday. The businessman is currently being held at the Larnaca General Hospital after complaining about dizziness and headaches.
Neither can be named until he has been officially charged or until the police release their names.
DISY MP Stella Kyriakou sent out a press release on Monday, asking the state to immediately ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (also known as the Lanzarote convention). The Lanzarote convention criminalises sexual activity with children, regardless of the context in which such behaviour occurs and mandates the criminalisation of child prostitution and pornography, by European law. Cyprus signed the treaty in 2007 but hasn’t yet ratified it.