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Indian among three jailed for stealing ex-president's corpse

Three people, including an Indian, have been jailed for stealing the corpse of a former Cyprus president from his grave two-and-a-half years ago, a media report said.

world Updated: May 18, 2011 11:40 IST

Three people, including an Indian, have been jailed for stealing the corpse of a former Cyprus president from his grave two-and-a-half years ago, a media report said.

A three-judge assize court in Nicosia on Monday imposed a 20-month prison sentence on two brothers, one of whom has already been in jail for murdering two women several years ago, and an 18-month sentence on an immigrant from India.

The court said they were found guilty on the strength of their own admission and other evidence of conspiring to commit several crimes, of illegally entering a burial site, of stealing the corpse of former president Tassos Papadopoulos and of insulting his memory.

It added that the murderer had instructed his brother to steal the corpse so he could give authorities information, which would lead to its discovery in the hope of getting a reprieve from his life sentence, according to China Daily.

The actual stealing of the corpse in December 2009 was carried out by his brother, who was assisted by an immigrant worker from India. They reburied the body in a newly dug grave in a nearby cemetery.

The corpse was recovered a year later when the immigrant tried to extort 100,000 euros from the family of the ex-president by providing information for the recovery of his remains.

The snatching of the ex-president's remains, which came some months after his death from cancer, had caused a sensation at the time.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish militarily intervened and occupied the north of the island after a coup by Greek officers.

International efforts to help the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities to reunify the island have not yielded positive results.