Two former policemen and another man went on trial in Nicosia, the Cypriot capital, on Monday (9 May) for the killing of the US Ambassador to Cyprus and his Greek-Cypriot secretary.
Two former policemen and another man went on trial in Nicosia, the Cypriot capital, on Monday (9 May) for the killing of the US Ambassador to Cyprus and his Greek-Cypriot secretary. The two died during a riot at the U.S. embassy in August, 1974. The three men, who face life imprisonment, have pleaded not guilty.
SYNOPSIS: The prosecution allege that the three men had been seen entering a building under construction about 200 feet (66 metres) from the embassy during the riot, and just before 12 shots penetrated the windows of the ambassador's office. According to expert evidence the prosecution said, the shots which fatally wounded ambassador Roger Davies and his secretary, Antoinette Varnava, came from the building.
In order to get a full idea of what went on during the riot, the court, including judges, lawyers and the accused, wen to the embassy. They were shown the still-unrepaired bullet-shattered French windows of the ambassador's office, and a new block of flats not far away. Mr. Davies and Miss Varnava were said to have been slain as they tried to shelter themselves in corridor in the building. Apart from the three on trial for murder, two other men are standing trial on lesser charges connected with the riot. The disturbance was triggered by the Turkish invasion of the island which left more than a third of Cyprus under Turkish control. the prosecution told the court that about 400 demonstrators marched on the embassy to protest at the failure by the United States to stop the invasion.
Greek-Cypriot anti-American feeling exploded into violence on Cyprus when the Turkish army started its offensive. They shouted slogans like "Kissinger Murderer" and "Shame on NATO". Eight cars were destroyed and an American flag was burned.
The prosecuting counsel told the court that evidence would be presented showing that one of the men was seen in the block of flats in the act of firing at the embassy. The trial continues.