A friend of a British man killed in Ayia Napa has started a petition to pressure the Turkish authorities to hand over two suspects to stand trial for murder, it emerged Monday.
Arrest warrants issued by Cyprus police for Mehmet Akpinar, 22, and Sali Musa Ahmet, 43, for the August 14 murder of George Low are still outstanding, with authorities in the north refusing to hand over the two fugitives despite reports that the two had admitted to their involvement in the killing.
“In August 2016, George Low and his friend Ben (Barker) were attacked while on holiday in Cyprus. George was killed and Ben seriously injured. The two attackers then fled to the unrecognised state of the TRNC and were arrested. Up to now Turkey has refused to hand them over to stand trial,” reads the petition which has now garnered some 3,500 signatures.
The petition to the UK and EU parliaments as well as UK prime minister Theresa May and foreign secretary Boris Johnson, aims to urge them to exert pressure on Turkey to hand over the two accused men to stand trial for the murder and attempted murder of the two British citizens.
Both suspects were put on trial in the north by a Turkish military court on charges of illegally trespassing into a military zone.
“One is already free and the other will be in less than a year. After this they will both be free to live their lives with no consequences for the crimes they committed in Cyprus,” the petition concludes.
“As a friend of George’s and with the permission of his family, I have started a petition to urge the UK government to exert pressure on Turkey to hand over the two men accused, so as to stand trial for the murder and attempted murder of the two British citizens in Cyprus,” said Michael Stephanou who started the petition “in order to try and get some justice for George and Ben.”
Last week one of the two men, who reportedly confessed to the killing in Ayia Napa last summer, of George Low was jailed for a year by a military court in the north after admitting to violating a military zone.
Turkish Cypriot police captured the two in Kyrenia on August 19 and detained them for illegally crossing into the north through a military area, but not in connection with the murder.
According to the Turkish Cypriot press reports, Ahmet was sentenced last week to a year in jail after admitting to using a forged passport to cross to the government controlled area from the north 670 times over the last five years, as well as leaving the ‘country’ without obtaining permission from the competent ‘authority’.
Akpinar, who was also awaiting trial on charges relating to illegally entering a military zone, was released days earlier, having served the three-month sentence he received while in custody.
According to Ayia Napa police, at about 3.30am on the night of the murder, Low, a 22-year-old estate agent from Dartford, in Kent, and his friend Ben Barker were walking along Grigori Afxentiou Street when they were attacked by two men armed with knives who then fled.
A blow to his throat, severing his carotid artery proved fatal for Low, while Barker, who was stabbed in the back four times, survived.
Police originally issued arrest warrants against the suspects following testimony obtained from Koulla Anastasiou, 48, who said she lived with Akpinar in her Kamares home in Larnaca and had aided his escape to the north.
Find the petition here