A Turkish mainlander who has been remanded in custody since his arrest on December 17 for attempting to facilitate the illegal entry of an Iranian national into the Sovereign Base Areas, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison on Monday after being found guilty in Dhekelia’s SBA Court.
The man, Melik Gulvedi, who lives in Famagusta, was arrested by SBA Police officers after attempting to cross the boundary on foot with an illegal immigrant close to the official Black Knight crossing point in Ayios Nikolaos.
During a police operation in the area, officers apprehended the two men who had hoped to avoid being processed officially by customs officials.
The two men were immediately arrested and taken to the SBA Police station in Dhekelia for further questioning.
They then appeared in court later that day and were remanded in custody after being charged with facilitating an illegal immigrant (Gulvedi) and attempting to enter the SBAs illegally.Within two days of his arrest, the Iranian national claimed asylum in the Republic of Cyprus and was handed over to the Cypriot authorities to be processed.
After further court appearances, Gulvedi eventually pleaded guilty to the charges and he was given his sentence earlier this week.
Speaking shortly after the court hearing, Deputy Divisional Commander, Andreas Pitsillides said this was once again a strong sentence for a crime that the SAB Police and the wider SBA Administration take very seriously.
He said: “The 12-week sentence sends out a strong message but it is also important to understand that the man has actually been in police custody since December 17, which means by the time he completes his sentence, he will have been in prison for approximately five months in total.”
In addressing the issue of the illegal immigrant, the Deputy Divisional Commander said it was a good example of the system working correctly.
He explained: “It was a good arrest by our police officers and it stopped someone entering the SBAs illegally but as soon as he claimed asylum, the correct procedure was implemented between ourselves and our colleagues within the Republic of Cyprus and he was handed over quickly to be processed.”
Only last week the SBA Police revealed that a Palestinian national had been sentenced to six months in Her Majesty’s Prison in Dhekelia for attempting to facilitate two illegals into the SBAs.
And according to the Deputy Divisional Commander, this steady stream of arrests and subsequent successful prosecutions, reaffirms the police’s commitment to security not just at the crossing points when working alongside SBA Customs officials but along the boundary separating the SBAs and the Turkish Controlled Areas.
“Security is of paramount importance to us,” he said. “Our police officers undertake regular patrols along the boundary and we will continue to make arrests and ensure that those intent of facilitating any illegal activity are caught and given the appropriate sentences in our courts.”