Mari Naval Base Blast Sentencing

Former South Cyprus Defence Minister Costas Papacostas was sentenced to five years jail earlier today on charges of manslaughter for his role in the July 11, 2011 Mari naval base blast, in which 13 sailors and firemen died. The three other men convicted in July received sentences of two years each.

On July 9, the court convicted Papacostas of manslaughter, while firemen Andreas Nicolaou, Charalambos Charalambous and commander of the disaster response team EMAK, Andreas Loizides were found guilty of causing death due to reckless and dangerous acts.

The blast at the South Cyprus naval base was caused by munitions that had been seized from the ‘Monchegorsk’, a ship sailing from Iran to Syria. They were confiscated in February 2009 after it was determined they were in breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions on Iran. The cache of munitions was stored at the Evangelos Florakis base in containers that were left exposed to the elements until the day they exploded on 11 July, killing seven sailors and six firefighters.

The blast also caused significant damage to the island’s biggest power station, located in the area, which had an effect on the economy.

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