Notorious Cypriot killer masterminds snatching of former president's remains: police

10:26, March 11, 2010      

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A Nicosia court was told on Wednesday that Cyprus's most notorious criminal is the man who had masterminded from inside his prison cell the snatching of the remains of ex-President Tassos Papadopoulos three months ago.

The remains were recovered by police on Monday following information given by one of the three suspects involved in the case.

A police investigator told the court that the theft of the remains was planned by Andonis Prokopiou Kitas, mostly known as " Al Capone", a serial killer who is serving a life sentence for the murder of two women.

Kitas was not in court when his two alleged accomplices were brought before a judge and remanded in custody for eight days. He was just informed that he is a suspect in the case and was placed in solitary confinement.

The other two suspects are Kitas'brother and a 31-year-old Indian immigrant.

The police investigator told the court that the Indian immigrant made a voluntary statement naming the two brothers as his accomplices.

He told them the imprisoned man had planned the stealing, which was carried out by him and Kitas'brother.

He described in detail how he removed the remains from the grave on the instructions of Kitas' brother, while he kept watch.

He said he received just 200 euros for the act from the convict's brother and expected more money, which however never came.

He also said that he had repeatedly contacted Papadopoulos' family demanding money in exchange for information on where the body was. He told the family he wanted to return to India to start a new life.

According to police, the Indian suspect said he was remorseful.

Kitas, who is alleged to have masterminded the theft made the headlines over a year ago when he escaped from a private hospital where he had been living for a long time, faking illness.

He made his escape on December 12, 2008, the day ex- President Tassos Papadopoulos died of cancer at the age 74.

He managed to stay at large for almost three months before being apprehended in a spectacular police operation.

The remains of the exPresident were stolen on December 11, 2009, one day before the anniversary of his death, when the family and political friends were about to hold a memorial service for him.

The Papadopoulos' family said they never paid any sum of money to the culprits on the advice of the Police.

Source: Xinhua
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