Nine armed prisoners and a woman holding hostages in Nicosia's Central Prison, surrendered to prison authorities on Tuesday, (19 September).
Nine armed prisoners and a woman holding hostages in Nicosia's Central Prison, surrendered to prison authorities on Tuesday, (19 September). The prisoners gave up their weapons and freed the hostages, four prison guards and three policemen, who they have held since an abortive escape attempt on Saturday (16 September). All the prisoners are closely connected to the recently disbanded extreme right-wing Eoka B organisation. The ring-leader, who police identified as Vassos Pavlides, master-minded last year's kidnapping of Cypriot President Sypros Kyrianou's son, Achilleas.
SYNOPSIS: Government officials arrived at the Central Prison in Nicosia early Tuesday morning, as relatives and police continued their vigil outside.
Several hours later, the seven hostages were released. They had not eaten since the incident began and appeared to be exhausted. The prisoners had been demanding safe passage from Cyprus, after taking the hostages using a pistol smuggled in by ring-leader Vessos Pavlide's finacee.
The government said it made no concessions to obtain the release of the hostages, apart from assuring the prisoners their lives would not be in danger.
Diplomatic sources described the peaceful outcome as a triumph for President Kyprianou, who had maintained throughout the incident that he would not be blackmailed by people he called terrorists in prison. The released hostages were taken to see the President after their release.