NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Three men including a "paranoid" convicted felon allegedly plotted to assassinate the country's attorney general using an anti-tank weapon, a police investigator told a court on Monday.
The court granted a police request to keep the three suspects in police custody for eight days until investigators build their case against them. The suspected ringleader is 61-year-old Andreas Ounoufriou, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the 1996 attempted murder of a judge. The trio faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder and possession of military-grade explosives, a missile launcher and other weapons.
Police investigator Ioannis Georgadjis told a Nicosia District Court that Ounoufriou allegedly masterminded the foiled killing of attorney general Petros Clerides from behind bars a few months before he was due to be released from a four-year sentence for an earlier prison escape. Ounoufriou, believed to harbor intense hatred for Clerides and other figures of authority, allegedly recruited the other two men, aged 39 and 52, to help him carry out his plan.
Georgadjis said Ounoufriou planned the hit in prison so that he could argue that he couldn't have been involved because he was still behind bars. Under cross examination, the police investigator didn't disclose anything more about Ounoufriou's possible motivation, saying that the investigation was ongoing.