17 January 2014 12:39

Four high ranking officials that were convicted for the 2011 Mari naval base blast that killed 13 people will need to wait and see if their request to call former President Demetris Christofias to the stand in their appeal is approved.
Former defence minister Costas Papacostas, ex-deputy director of the fire service Andreas Nicolaou and Pambos Charalambous as well as former emergency rescue service (EMAK) chief Andreas Loizides were all jailed last year in connection with the blast.
While Papacostas was handed a five-year prison sentence for manslaughter, the other three defendants were jailed for two years each after being found guilty of negligence resulting in death.
Chief Supreme Court Judge, Demetris Hadjichambis, said the Court will decide whether or not Christofias' testimony could have any bearing on the outcome of the initial court ruling if he takes to the stand.
The next hearing is set for April 3 when a ruling on whether or not the former president will be called up should be delivered.
Jailed officials want the Supreme Court to make the unprecedented move of allowing the former president to testify, something which state prosecutors object to.
The decision could have a profound effect on the outcome of the appeal. The issue of Christofias is a precursor to the legal battle ahead in the actual appeal process which starts as soon as the Court delivers its decision.
During Thursday's hearing, relatives of the defendants staged a small demonstration with one banner reading "Reopen the Mari trial and punish the real guilty!"
The July 2011 naval base blast was the worst peacetime military accident ever recorded in Cyprus.


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