The Commissioner for Gender Equality Iosifina Antoniou said on Monday she was appalled by the murder of 26-year-old Sophia Zenonos by her former partner, and referred to the incident as one more case of gender-based violence that has come to light.
On Saturday police found the bodies of Petros Papantoniou, 35, and his former partner Sophia Zenonos, in the early morning hours at the Ayia Fyla firing range in Limassol. Zenonos left behind a six-year-old child from a previous relationship.
Reports said the woman had gone there to try and prevent the 35-year-old, with whom she had recently broken up, from ending his life.
“Without a doubt, murders of women in our country and world-wide are extreme forms of gender-based and sexist violence, since they are mainly motivated by a sense of control over women,” Antoniou said.
Antoniou highlighted the importance of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), which was ratified by Cyprus in 2017.
“It constitutes an extremely useful and legally binding international instrument, which can help shape a comprehensive legal framework, as well as policies to protect and empower victims of all forms of violence against women,” she said.
A bill aiming to incorporate the provisions of the convention into national legislation is currently being prepared by the relevant state authorities, Antoniou said.
“The bill penalises virtually all forms of violence against women, sets the foundations for comprehensive protection and support for victims, as well as exemplary punishment for perpetrators of gender-based violence.”
A demonstration entitled ‘Not Even One Less’ has been scheduled for Tuesday at 6pm outside the police headquarters in Nicosia in reaction to the recent murder of Zenonos.
The organisers of the demonstration said that “the murder of 26-year-old Sophia Zenonos by her former partner is one more case in a series of femicides that shocked and angered Cypriot society, and demonstrated the urgent need for action and for a demonstration of the necessary political will to end gender-based violence.”