A Cypriot arrested in Egypt is serving a one year sentence for soliciting prostitution the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, director of the permanent secretary’s office Andreas Iliadis denied reports in Politis that suggested the man was arrested for maintaining a homosexual relationship with an employee at the Cypriot embassy in Cairo.
Iliadis said the case had nothing to do with homosexuality and suggestions of a relationship between the two were “irrelevant and rumours.”
Nevertheless the embassy employee, who was not a diplomat as the report suggested, but a member of supporting staff at the embassy, was recalled to Cyprus “as a matter of respect to the host country and to facilitate further investigations of the matter.”
The Cypriot now serving a sentence was arrested two weeks ago and is in his 30’s. He was charged for prostitution after he advertised himself online in Arabic seeking a companion. But it was an undercover policeman that arrived at the apartment and subsequently arrested him as the evening wore on.
The man is being offered consular assistance, as any Cypriot abroad would when facing any legal problems, Iliades said.
“We will do everything we can while respecting the Egyptian justice system,” he added.
Politis said the convicted man had gone to Cairo to see his boyfriend, the embassy employee, and that they had advertised online for a third party. The paper said once the police officer revealed who he was, the embassy employee had invoked diplomatic immunity and come back to Cyprus, leaving his friend behind to face the courts. It said that in conversations with his family, the jailed man said he had been stigmatised in prison as being gay.