In Cyprus, 17 men and a woman have appeared in court charged with armed conspiracy against the Government.
GV, CU EXTERIOR: Nicosia court building
SV AND CU: Vassos Pavlides in handcuffs escorted into court.
SV: Pavlides' fiance Androula Neocleous escorted into court.
GV: others charged escorted into court in handcuff (2 shots)
CU: relatives and friends of the accused outside court. (2 shots)
GV: accused leaving court.
SV: police and lawyers in courtyard
SV: Dr Pavlides out of court and into car. (3 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Cyprus, 17 men and a woman have appeared in court charged with armed conspiracy against the Government.
SYNOPSIS: The court hearing took place in Nicosia on Monday (17 April). It was the result of arrests that had taken place in Limassol and Larnaca during the prior two weeks. Among those arrested was Vassos Pavlidws, also known by his alias-"the doctor"-because he studied medicine in his youth. Vassos Pavlides' fiance-Ahdroula Neocleous was also arrested on charges of possession of a pistol. Other charges against the 18 people included espionage. Police said when Pavlides was arrested that he was preparing attacks against political personalities and foreign officials.
All told, 23 people were taken into police custody. Among them were members of the Greek Cypriot National Guard. A spokesman for the Cyprus Government said the arrests have broken up the organisational entity of a conspiracy. Also, President Kyprianou said that there was a possibility that what he called 'quarters outside Cyprus' were inciting anti-state activities.
A Government spokesman said the Government had received information that the alleged conspirators had been in contact with non-cypriot circles although he didn't identify them. It was Vassos Pavlides who led the gang which last December Kidnapped Achilleas Kyprianou the President's 21 year old son. Pavlides was granted immunity from prosecution on condition the President's son was released unharmed. All who appeared in court on Monday were remanded in custody for eight days to appear in court again.