Cyprus Mail

Murder trial of four men set for September

Limassol Court

Four Georgian nationals, three of them suspected of being the hitmen that killed Ernest Leonides, 47, in 2018 in Limassol, were referred on Friday for trial before the Limassol Criminal Court.

The four men, aged 29, 30, 32 and 34 had been handed over some two weeks ago by authorities in the north during an exchange of murder suspects by both sides with the help of Unficyp.

They face 12 charges including premeditated murder, illegal possession of arms and ammunition, participation in a criminal organisation, and forging and circulating fake documents and passports.

The four suspects were taken under heavy police protection to the Limassol district court, which referred the case to the Criminal Court. The procedure will start on September 11.

They will be held in custody at the central prisons until their trial.

Three of the suspects are believed to be the hitmen that killed Leonides and the 29-year-old the person who helped them escape. All four had fled to the north after the murder and were arrested by the Turkish Cypriot authorities last August following a raid in a tourist housing estate in Akanthou.

Leonides, a Greek national of Georgian extraction was gunned down in February 2018 while at a restaurant in Limassol. Police said at the time he had suffered four gunshot wounds – one to the head and three to his body.

It is believed the murder was ordered by a Russian criminal organisation with which Leonides had differences.

Five more people are still wanted in connection with the same case; two Russians aged 30 and 29, and three Georgians, one of them 49 the other two 37.

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