Three men found guilty in stealing remains of Cyprus' ex-president

13:55, April 05, 2011      

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Two Greek Cypriots and one Indian immigrant accused of stealing the remains of Cyprus' late President Tassos Papadopoulos were found guilty by Nicosia District Court on Monday.

Among the convicted is a notorious murderer Antonis Procopiou Kitas, who has been serving a life sentence.

The three, guilty of conspiracy to commit a crime, desecrating a tomb and illegal entry to cemetery, face a penalty up to 18 months. The sentence is expected in two weeks. Other charges of blackmail and extortion of money were dropped.

The remains of Tassos Papadopoulos were stolen on Dec. 11, 2009, from a cemetery outside capital Nicosia, one day before the first anniversary of his death.

Papadopoulos was President of Cyprus from February 2003 to February, 2008, when he was defeated in presidential elections by his former coalition partner Demetris Christofias. He died of cancer 10 months later.

Police were led to the recovery of his remains from a grave at a nearby cemetery when the Indian immigrant tried to get money from the family. He later confessed that Kitas was the man who had masterminded the snatching from inside his prison cell.

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