Cyprus Mail

Greek Cypriot reunification activist held as ‘spy’ in the north (Update)

The Pergamos crossing

Andreas Soutzis, the Greek Cypriot man who was arrested as a suspected spy because he was using a walkie-talkie to stay in communication with friends, has been detained in the north for an additional five days.

Soutzis was stopped and arrested at the Pergamos crossing in the Famagusta area on Tuesday.

Turkish Cypriot lawyer, Odgel Polili, told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that he was representing Soutzis. Meanwhile, the ministry of foreign affairs has taken steps asking for his release.

Polili told CNA that Soutzis was detained on account of a visit, along with others, to Galatea village in the north on August 13.

During the visit, Soutzis allegedly used walkie-talkies to facilitate communication between vehicles due to problems experienced on Greek Cypriot mobiles in the north. According to initial information, one of these wireless means of communication was found in the hotel visited by Soutzis and his friends.

According to the Turkish Cypriot lawyer, the walkie-talkie was handed over to police who then started an investigation. As part of this investigation, a map and photos were found in the possession of Soutzis, and on his mobile phone, which are being examined.

Unauthorised possession of walkie-talkies is prohibited in the north.

The case was brought to light on Thursday by Politis newspaper which reported that Soutzis, an electrician by profession and a well-known activist in the reunification movement, was simply visiting Turkish Cypriot friends in the village of Lysi in northern Famagusta.

According to information provided to Politis, it seems that Soutzis misplaced one of the walkie-talkies which was found by someone and handed over to the police. When he attempted to cross back through the Pergamos crossing, he was arrested.

Spokesperson for Unficyp Aleem Siddique, confirmed the incident and said the UN was in communication both with the ministry of foreign affairs as well as with the Turkish Cypriot authorities.

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