Limassol court dismisses case against terrorist suspect, KNEWS


A Lebanese man in Cyprus, who faced serious terrorism charges in connection with a social media post about the country’s president, was released this week after a Limassol court ruled that the allegations against him could not be founded.

According to local media, a 37-year-old man from Lebanon was acquitted on Tuesday by a Limassol criminal court of terrorism-related charges, which could have led to several years in prison.

The accused was apprehended in a village outside Limassol in November 2020 after authorities received foreign intelligence information identifying the suspect as a terrorist sympathizer. A few days earlier, five protesters were arrested outside the French embassy in Nicosia, where dozens of the island’s Muslim residents gathered to demonstrate against France’s stance towards Islam.

After posting a comment on Facebook appearing to praise a Chechen teenager who beheaded a teacher in France in broad daylight, the suspect also allegedly made threats against Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who had joined in other foreign leaders on social media to condemn the crime.

The suspect initially pleaded not guilty, but later changed his guilty plea in September 2021 as the court rushed to set a date for the fact hearing and the date of conviction a few days later.

The suspect initially pleaded not guilty, but later changed his guilty plea in September 2021 as the court rushed to set a date for the fact hearing and the date of conviction a few days later.

It was still not clear whether there had been previous attempts to change the charges or an agreement reached between state prosecutors and the accused.

But a lawyer who appeared on September 28 on behalf of the accused told the judge his client wanted to register a plea change.

This week, the court found that state prosecutors had failed to substantiate the allegations against the accused, who had withdrawn his confession of guilt. After denying any wrongdoing, the man was acquitted.

The case against the Lebanese national was the first of its kind to be tried in the Republic of Cyprus under anti-terrorism legislation, with some offenses ranging from ten years to life imprisonment.