Cyprus Mail

Most wanted woman’s parents to remain in custody until trial

Efi Herodotou

Irodotos Irodotou and wife Nitsa, parents of former fugitive Efi Irodotou, will remain in custody until February 6, when their trial starts, the Nicosia district court ruled on Wednesday.

The couple faces five charges – perjury, inciting perjury, forgery, circulation of a forged document, and misleading the court – in connection with the 2009 trial of their daughter over a hit-and-run two years earlier that left 17-year-old motorcyclist Emilios Ioannou dead.

After their daughter was cleared of all charges but one, for which she got a three-month suspended jail term, the family moved to Greece, ostensibly to escape danger to Efi’s life and help her address the psychological distress she suffered.

In 2011, the prosecution appealed when suspicious testimony was discovered, and the Supreme Court ordered a retrial, but police were unable to locate Efi Irodotou or her parents.

A European warrant for their arrest was issued, but it took five years before they were arrested in Athens earlier this month and extradited to Cyprus.

Among other things, it was found that a Serbian witness in the 2009 trial had committed perjury, and that Irodotos Irodotou had promised him a job and a renewal of his Cyprus visa.

The family’s lawyer in the 2009 trial, as well as the state prosecutor who tried the case, were also brought up on charges over the affair. The lawyer was acquitted as the evidence against him was deemed insufficient, while the charges against the prosecutor were dropped after she resigned.

On Wednesday, police investigator Iraklis Pistillis told the court that when police went to the Irodotou’s home to arrest them in 2011, the family car had been covered and the mailbox full of mail.

Their son Andreas at the time told police that his parents had gone to England for medical tests and would return soon.

Delivering her ruling, the judge dismissed the defendants’ claim of being completely unaware that they were wanted by police, citing a 2013 letter their son sent to the justice minister, asking that the warrants against his sister and parents be revoked.

She found that, in the knowledge of the existence of warrants for their arrest, the defendants actively tried to avoid arrest.

The risk of flight had not been eliminated, but remained real, the judge said, since neither works in Cyprus and both lived in Greece for an extended period of time.

In a separate hearing, the court ruled on Tuesday that Efi Irodotou would also remain in custody until her trial.

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