Twenty femicides in three years

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Twenty femicides have been committed in Cyprus since 2019 following the murder of an 82-year-old woman by her 84-year-old husband in Limassol.

The 20 murders include the killings of five women and two young girls who were slain at the hands of Cyprus’ first serial killer.

The murders of the women were recorded in 2019, although the first murder took place three years earlier.

The specific charge of femicide has yet to be added to the Cyprus Criminal Code; however, police keep records of murder cases involving women and the details of their killing.

The murder of 82-year-old Georgia Charalambous, carried out by her husband, was the first femicide recorded in 2022, according to police, who are treating the case as premeditated murder.

Her 84-year-old husband has admitted hitting his wife on the head with a hammer.

Police say the man delivered five blows to her head with the hammer following a heated argument.

Reportedly, the suspect told officers that he killed his wife “find peace from her moaning”, and he apparently snapped when she called him a ‘scrouge’.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily, Police spokesperson Christos Andreou said that in 2019 nine femicides (69%) were recorded from 13 murders.

The seven involved the five foreign women and two children slain at the hands of serial killer Nicos Metaxas.

Metaxas abducted and murdered his victims from the Philippines, Romania, and Nepal between September 2016 and August 2018.

The two children, aged six and eight, were daughters of two of the women.

In 2020, five femicides (33%) were recorded from 15 murders. Another five femicides (35%) were carried out in 2021, out of 14 murders.

Two of the femicides involve the murder of two Russian women at a holiday home in Limassol last November. They were allegedly killed and buried by two Syrian brothers.

Andreou noted that crimes against women have not increased, nor have they changed, but women feel safer coming forward and reporting a crime against them, such as sexual harassment or rape.

“We are seeing an increase in complaints.

“What we are saying is not that such crimes were not committed in the past, but with the way the Police are now handling these issues, there is an increase in complaints.”

A bill to make femicide a specific crime is before parliament; MPs are expected to pass it before the House breaks for the summer recess.

The bill was tabled by Cyprus’ first female House Speaker, Annita Demetriou, who proposes the specific charge of femicide be added to the criminal code and carry a maximum life sentence.

Demetriou argues that parliament should lead the way to protect and safeguard human rights and abolish stereotypes.

Presenting the bill before her colleagues, she said femicide is the most extreme form of gender violence.

The proposed change of the penal code aims to strengthen the legal armoury of the Republic so that it becomes compatible with its obligation for the abolition of violence and discrimination against women.