Publisher’s slaying stuns Cyprus, island’s president visits family’s home

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Publisher’s killing stuns Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Political leaders on Cyprus expressed shock Tuesday at the slaying of the island’s most powerful publisher by a gunman who fled with an accomplice on a motorcycle.

Andy Hadjicostis, the 41-year-old director of the Dias Group who was shot dead late Monday outside his home in central Nicosia.

Police spokesman Michalis Kastounotos said the victim was shot twice as he stepped out of his car. He said the gunman escaped with another person on a motorcycle. No shell casings were found at the scene.

Parliament speaker Marios Karoyan said the shooting may have been an attempt to destabilize the island but did not elaborate.

“Our democracy is strong enough to withstand acts of violence like this,” he said. “We will not let lawlessness, crime and murder prevail.”

The tiny Mediterranean island remains ethnically divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and scarred by political violence that erupted after independence from Britain in 1960.

Former hardline Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos corpse was stolen from his grave on Nicosia’s outskirts last month. He was seen by some nationalist Greek Cypriots as a symbol of resistance against peace deals they believe have been weighted against them.

A recent surge in organized crime-related violence has added to public anxiety.

Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias took a break from ongoing peace talks with Turkish Cypriots to visit the home of the victim’s family. He expressed his abhorrence at the publisher’s slaying.

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