By Christodoulos Mavroudis and Nick Theodoulou
connection with an attack on a foreign woman who was renting from them, which was captured on video.
Police late Wednesday had arrested the couple after a video went viral showing a man hitting a woman who is allegedly a tenant renting the ground floor part of a two-storey dwelling in Polemidia, Limassol. The tenant was later identified as an asylum seeker aged 40 with a three-year-old child.
According to police sources, the incident occurred at noon on Wednesday.
“The case has been filed before Limassol district court this morning, and the hearing has been set for September 29. A €10,000 bond has also been imposed,” Limassol police spokesman Lefteris Kyriacou said.
Kyriacou, citing various testimonies said that the couple and their tenant, who has a three-year-old child, had had differences and that they wanted her out. It is not known how many, or if any others were living in the rented part of the building along with the woman.
He said there also appeared to be irregularities regarding the electricity supply to the residence that was being rented out.
“There were arguments and frictions over the electricity provision of the ground-floor residence,” he said. “Police had been informed about it and with help from the welfare services and the electricity authority they had paid a visit to that specific place,” Kyriacou added.
He said the electricity authority had disconnected the supply to the rented house after finding that the meter was allegedly being tampered with, adding that supply was first disconnected to the rented property and then also to the first-floor dwelling.
The couple, believed to be British, is facing charges of assault, causing grievous bodily harm, possession of an offensive weapon and public insult.
Kyriacou confirmed that testimony existed saying that the 40-year-old had been hit on the back with a pair of scissors by a woman just before the man in the video is seen hitting her.
The 40-year-old is currently being treated at the Limassol General hospital and her son is with family friends under the supervision of welfare. The older woman was also treated in hospital after complaining of feeling unwell.
The video clip of the attack was uploaded to Twitter by the migrant support group Kisa on Wednesday.
In the clip, an elderly man is seen striking the woman multiple times including to the back of the head. The man in the video also grabs her by the hair, pulling her head down so he can hit her.
An older woman is seen on the video who appears to try and stop the man from continuing the attack, but no other help was immediately offered to the victim as seen in the 20-second clip.
Local media said the tenant is an asylum seeker from Iran, while authorities appear to have been notified of the troubled relationship between her and her landlord in the past – with the welfare services reportedly having been close to securing other accommodation for her.
Cybc reported that the woman refused to pay the rent because the dwelling did not have electricity or running water.
The clip went viral on some social media platforms and caused outrage, with many expressing their disgust.
Commentators were quick in pointing to parallels to a seemingly similar case in late July when a middle-aged Cypriot man was captured on video beating a 29-year-old African asylum seeker. She was on the ground holding her infant in her arms.
Condemning the act and responding to criticism, deputy minister of social protection Anastasia Anthousi in an announcement on Thursday said that the social welfare services acted in a timely manner by proposing solutions within the framework of their responsibilities from the outset, with a view to protecting both the woman and her child.
More specifically, it said that given the friction with the landlord, the welfare services early on had advised her to move to a specified temporary residence or move to another residence where she would be able to obtain a lease contract and through that obtain rental allowance from the state.
“Officers of the social welfare department during their on-site visits and by telephone, had repeatedly urged her to find another place and to present a lease document in order to be able to receive the rent allowance. In both cases (temporary movement to accommodation and moving to another place), she refused, stating that she received legal advice for staying in the premises in question,” the statement said.
“Allegations of negligence of the social welfare services are not valid. Officers acted in a timely manner by proposing from the beginning solutions within the framework of their responsibilities with a view to protecting the woman and her child.”
Νέα βάναυση κακοποίηση sungle mothers αιτήτριας ασύλου … όχι άλλα θύματα! @SteliosPapathe2 @SavvidesGL αναλάβετε τις ευθύνες σας ή αν δεν μπορείτε πηγαίνετε σπίτι σας … https://t.co/jx8XJriqMu pic.twitter.com/jxM71dVgJQ
— KISA – Official (@KISAOfficial) August 31, 2022