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North monitoring arrest of Turk in Republic

Yilmaz Gumus

The north is closely observing developments surrounding Yilmaz Gumus, a wanted Turkish national who was arrested in the Republic, reports said on Friday.

According to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen, Turkish Cypriot co-chairman of the technical committee on crime Hakki Onen said it was too soon to begin contacts or moves on handing him over to the north.

Onen was quoted by the Cyprus News Agency as saying the committee would wait for the case to go to court before taking action.

The situation is being closely monitored, he said, and the committee will observe developments before deciding what the next steps will be.

Gumus, 45, was arrested in Paphos earlier this week along with a Turkish Cypriot friend who had given him a place to stay.

He had escaped from a prison in Turkey only to be eventually arrested in the north but got out of authorities hands for a second time.

He had been sentenced to 16 years in prison by a British court in 2005 for setting an apartment in Stoke Newington, London, on fire two years earlier, targetting his girlfriend whom he suspected was having an affair.

The woman no longer lived there but three people died as a result.

Gumus served six years of his sentence in Britain and asked to serve the remainder of his time in Turkey.

After his transfer he served five years in prison and two in an open prison.

In 2015, he escaped to the north where he has lived for three years.

On May 1 ‘authorities’ in the north arrested Gumus. However, he cited health problems and was taken to Kyrenia hospital from where he escaped on May 8.

In his statements to police Gumus said he crossed to the government-controlled areas through Pyla and that a Turkish Cypriot friend picked him up from Larnaca.

The man took him to a flat in Peyia.

Police arrested both men on Wednesday, and also found a small quantity of cannabis, around €5,000 in cash and forged documents.

The two had been childhood friends in the north but lost touch for a long time after Gumus’ family moved to London.

The court remanded both for five days on Thursday. They face charges of conspiring to commit a crime, and forgery.

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