07 May 2014 16:04

The House Plenum is on Thursday expected to vote in tougher legislation on sexual offences against minors.
Although in the pipeline for some time and necessary to harmonise local law with the EU, the anticipated vote comes amid investigations against two adult men accused of raping two underage girls.
The two suspects, a 35-year-old Nicosia man and a prominent 59-year-old Larnaca businessman, remain in custody on suspicion of sexually assaulting two girls aged 14 and 15.  The elder girl has told police she met the Nicosia man through a social networking site and was, along with 14-year-old girl, held against her will, beaten and raped.
The two girls were then allegedly taken to Larnaca and subjected to a second assault which also involved the 59-year-old.
The girls are now under the care of the Social Services and being provided psychological support. The two men look set to be re-remanded in custody today as investigations continue.
The new law is set to criminalise more acts against minors and also provide for the better supervision of people who have been convicted of sexual offences against children.
The bill comes in parallel to a law on the sexual exploitation and abuse of minors already before the Law Office and a relevant European Directive, as well as the Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as "the Lanzarote Convention".
The new proposal was first formulated by Akel MP Irene Charalambidou and includes the creation of an authority responsible for monitoring the activities of people who have been convicted of sexual offences against minors. It also includes provisions on "middlemen" who approach minors with the aim of their sexual exploitation by others.
The act of asking someone to provide a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with them or inviting a third person to meet with a minor for the same purpose is also set to be criminalised in the new legislation. The House Legal Affairs Committee recently heard that two prisoners convicted of sexual offences against minors are due for release.
They are two of 14 people, 11 of which are Greek Cypriot, currently in prison for this type of offence.


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