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Former Finance Minister Sarris 'Arrested' In N. Cyprus

sarris arrested Former finance minister Michalis Sarris has been 'arrested' in Turkish-held north Cyprus on allegations of sex crimes with a 17-year-old teenager, said police spokesman Michalis Katsounodos.

The Republic of Cyprus police force has no connection with the detention, which was carried out in the Turkish-held north of the island at a house in old Nicosia, he said.

However, the fact that he is in custody has been confirmed by the bi-communal joint committee on crime, said the spokesman.

michael sarris arrestPhotographs show the 65-year-old Sarris and an un-named teenager flanked by police going to a court in the north, where the former minister was remanded for three days for further investigation into allegations of 'unnatural' sexual relations with a minor. According to the Turkish-Cypriot legal system, homosexuality is against the law and punishable by up to five years in prison.

Connected with the case is a 29-year-old Turkish-Cypriot man who works for Sarris and was reportedly in the house when he was arrested.

A report in Politis newspaper says that Sarris was accused by the 17-year-old who is a Turkish settler. The 17-year-old is also under arrest.

The former minister is a respected and well-liked economics and public policy expert who serves on a number of boards and was formerly a Central Bank governor. His detention has shocked the Greek-Cypriot community, which holds Sarris in high regard, and on whose behalf he was negotiating in ongoing reunification talks.

Legally, the arrest is on highly questionable grounds since the Turkish-Cypriot police force and the 'TRNC' are not officially recognised outside Turkish-occupied north Cyprus.

Since Sarris' detention, the government has been liaising with the UN to make sure he is being held in good conditions and that he is released as soon as possible, said government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou. Meanwhile, Sarris' lawyer Constantis Candounas has crossed the Green Line to take up the case but has not yet made any statements.


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