Cyprus Mail

Husband and wives remanded in sham marriage case

Two women from Bulgaria and four men, two from India and two from Pakistan, were remanded for six days on Monday in connection with a case concerning sham marriages.

The six were arrested on Sunday after the two women, aged 20 and 21, told police that they had arrived in Cyprus on July 16 to enter into sham marriages with two men from Pakistan and that they had been held since then against their will in an apartment in Engomi, in Nicosia.

The police investigator told court that the two women were found in Makedonitissa on Sunday calling for help and claiming they had escaped the Engomi apartment where they had been locked up by their husbands, with whom they agreed to perform sham marriages.

In the apartment police found the husband of one of the women, and three other men, two from India and one from Pakistan. The men were aged between 23 and 30. The second woman’s husband was not there.

The police also found the marriage certificates of some of the men but the husbands could not provide information as to their wives’ whereabouts. All marriages were officiated at the Aradippou town hall, police said.

All six were arrested and are being investigated for cases concerning sham marriages between Europeans and third country nationals so that the latter can remain in a European country, police said. The offences allegedly took place between July and September 30 in Aradippou and Nicosia.

The two women told police they arrived on the island on July 16 after they were approached by a female compatriot of theirs in Bulgaria who asked them if they would be interested in working in hotels in Cyprus.

Two days prior to their departure, the women told police, their compatriot told them that the real reason for their trip to Cyprus was to marry a third country national for which they would each earn €1,000.

Upon their arrival, the court heard, they were picked up by two Pakistani men who took them to the apartment in Engomi where six other people were living. Both women married two Pakistanis who were living in the apartment, at the Aradippou town hall, one on July 21, the other five days later. One of the two women told police she had only seen her husband once since the ceremony.

The two Bulgarians claimed they each received €50 while their husbands sent their families in Bulgaria another €450.

One of the arrested men, who police said had married a Romanian woman on September 8 also at Aradippou town hall, said that his wife had left for her country right after their wedding.

Police also issued three arrest warrants against two women from Romania and a man from Pakistan in connection with the case, while their names were placed on the stop list.

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