Syrian brothers deny murdering Russian women

1 min read

Syrian brothers charged with the premeditated murder of two Russian women at a holiday home in Limassol in November have pleaded not guilty.

A 33-year-old man who had reportedly admitted to the crime and revealed to police where he had buried the women pleaded not guilty to murdering the pair.

His 44-year-old brother, accused of aiding and abetting, also pleaded not guilty.

He faces conspiracy after a crime, interfering in a police investigation and illegally possessing and transporting a firearm.

The Syrian duo appeared on Friday before the Limassol Criminal Court in the double murder case and was referred for trial on 9 May.

The victims in a crime that shocked the island were Mariia Gazibagandova, 33, and Alraeesi Khaiat, 43, both Russian nationals, reported missing on 17 November.

Following a police search, they were unearthed on 5 December, after the main suspect showed police where they were buried.

Officers had searched the premises of the holiday home for days before the suspect’s confession.

The 33-year-old admitted to killing them and burying their bodies in the garden of a holiday home he had been renovating in Kato Amiantos.

A third Syrian man, aged 30, detained in connection with the case, has been released as he turned witness for the prosecution.

He told officers he saw the 44-year-old brother of the confessed killer remove a weapon from a vehicle when he got word that police were on their way to confiscate the car.

There is speculation the murders are linked to a sex trafficking network.

The brother had been questioned earlier in the investigation and was arrested on 14 December after telecommunications data placed him at the crime scene.

Police told the court that the man, initially questioned on 30 November, said he had no knowledge of the women’s whereabouts, nor did he have any information on events at the holiday home.

Faced with the evidence, police said, he had later admitted to going to the home but not stepping inside.

The 33-year-old main suspect will remain in police custody, while the court will decide on Monday whether his brother will be released on bail pending trial.