Cyprus’ top lawyer has ordered a criminal probe regarding how the police handled the country’s first serial killer investigation, which led to the arrest of an army officer for the murders of seven foreign women and girls in the country.
Last year, the entire island was shocked when an army officer admitted to the murder of five migrant women and two girls, in what is believed to the first case of serial killing in the country.
15 Cyprus Police Probed on Serial Killings of 4 Filipinas, 3 Others
Amid the shock, protesters have pointed out the failure of the police to investigate the victims’ disappearances because of their migrant backgrounds.
In this regard, Attorney General Costas Clerides said in a statement that 15 members of the national police force may have breached the law or have been negligent in their duty, as shared in a report by The Inquirer.
The Attorney General said that he launched the investigation after examining an Independent Police Complaints Authority report.
Based on the report, the authority has identified some actions committed by the police in question that went beyond mere oversights. This served as the basis for establishing that a criminal offense may have been committed, Clerides explained.
And while Clerides did not provide further details regarding the investigation, there have already been allegations at the time the police failed to take seriously initial missing person reports about the victims.
The victims were three Filipinas and the daughter of one of them, a Romanian woman and her daughter, as well as a Nepalese woman.
35-year old Nicholas Metaxas, an ex-army officer, was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms in prison after pleading guilty to premeditated murder and kidnapping over a 2 ½-year period.
The case, which shocked the entire island-nation, became a national issue back in April 2019 when the decomposing body of Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38, from the Philippines, was found by chance down a flooded shaft in an abandoned copper mine.
Metaxas, a divorced father of two young children, initially refused to cooperate with investigators, but eventually confessed to the killings in a 10-page handwritten document.
In handing down its decision, the court noted that Metaxas appeared to have focused on defenseless women, most of whom came to Cyprus looking for work.
Prosecutors also noted that he sought out many of his adult victims on online social networks using the handle “Orestes35” and had sex with them before killing them.
Other than the spine-chilling revelations brought to court, the case has also directed the attention of the people on an exploitative system that allows tens of thousands of migrant women to work as housemaids in conditions that critics have described similar to modern slavery.
And though the case involving the Cyprus police force is still ongoing, many migrant women are still fighting for their rights and are calling on authorities to address the system, which renders them extremely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in the country.