By Nathan Morley
A 21-year-old man is being questioned in connection with the murder of his mother, who was stabbed to death in a “frenzied knife attack” at the Dhekelia base on Saturday.
Iraqi-Kurdish refugee Amil Aziz, appeared for a lengthy remand hearing at the SBA Court in Dhekelia on Monday, where Judge Raymond Naqvi approved a request for an eight-day detention order.
Looking tired and haggard, Aziz dressed only in beach shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops, sat silently, as chief investigating officer Markos Petrou revealed a series of gruesome details about the brutal killing.
As Petrou described how the victim, identified as Yasmin Mansour, 43, “had her throat cut” late on Saturday night, Aziz sat motionless in a glass protective booth.
Metres away, his father listened with his head bowed, while fiddling with a string of prayer beads.
Petrou said that early witness accounts placed Amil Aziz as being with Mansour that evening, when they were spotted taking a walk together just before midnight near their home at the ‘Victoria Coach Park’ – a refugee settlement on the base.
Soon after – according to witness testimony – Aziz was seen crouched over the body of Mansour, who was “on the ground bleeding” on the front door steps of a nearby house.
When a neighbour rushed over to investigate, Aziz said Mansour had been bitten by a dog. Moments later Aziz fled the scene on foot.
The witness rushed to alert the Mansour’s husband, who managed to drag her blood soaked body on to the back of seat of the family car, in an attempt to get her to hospital.
Emergency services arrived soon after, when Mansour was pronounced dead and a manhunt launched.
An autopsy carried out on the scene, showed “signs of strangulation, followed by multiple stab wounds with a very sharp knife, which had slit the vessels, musculature and respiratory tract of the victim’s throat.”
Aziz was picked up by police on Sunday evening outside a school in nearby Ormidia.
He told arresting officers that he did not kill his mother, saying he fled the scene ‘because of stress’.
Petrou said the clothes and shoes Aziz was arrested in were stained with blood. A kitchen knife was also found in his possession, which is being examined as a possible murder weapon.
Aziz could now face charges of premeditated murder, with police sources saying they are confident of a conviction.
Several relatives sat in the court during the court appearance, where Aziz confirmed that he had refused legal aid, or the services of a lawyer.
“It is in your best interest to have legal representation,” Judge Naqvi said, adding legal aid was available at no cost.
Naqvi added that: “It was maybe for your own safety that you are kept in custody.”
“The suspect is at present an innocent man, not charged with anything,” he added.
The court also heard how Aziz expressed no objection to the detention order.
“I do not object,” he said in broken English.
The murder was a rare act of violence in the Dhekelia district, which covers Xylotymbou and Ormidia.
Speaking outside the court, husband of the victim, and father of Aziz protested the innocence of his son.
Anter Aziz, told the Cyprus Mail that he believed his son to be ‘totally not guilty’.
“It was not my son, not him,” he said.
Anter Aziz, 58, was among a group of Iraqi and Syrian Kurds who washed up on the shores of Akrotiri base 17 years ago, his wife and children joined him in 2001 and they have since remained refugees, living on the base.
Authorities said Aziz had no recent work history and was dependent on his parents for money.
The Cyprus Mail understands that some of the refugees living on the base have no rights to work in Cyprus and are granted a small monthly welfare allowance by the British government.
Aziz will be back in court on Tuesday, September 8 at 11am.