Cyprus former defence minister found guilty in 2011 naval blast

A criminal court in Cyprus on Tuesday found former defence minister Costas Papacostas and three other former officials quilty of the deaths of 13 people killed in a naval base munitions blast on July 11, 2011.

Papacostas was found guilty of manslaughter, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The three others who were found quilty – former fire service chief Andreas Nicolaou, former fire service deputy chief Charalambos Charalambous, and Andreas Loizides, the former commander of the disaster response squad – will face up to four years in jail.

A total of 98 containers packed with explosives and munitions blew up at their storage area in Limassal naval base on July 11, 2011, killing 13 people and destroying a nearby power station which generated more than 50 percent of Cyprus’ electricity.

Cyprus confiscated the containers in February 2009 from a Syria-bound Cypriot-flagged ship that sailed from Iran under United Nations Security Council resolutions on Iran. GNA

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