Lebanese Terror Suspect in Cyprus to Stand Trial in September
A Lebanese man accused of helping to plot an attack on Israeli tourists in Cyprus will go on trial before a criminal court on the resort island on September 12, state media reported on Friday.
His case was committed to trial after he appeared before a district court in the island's second city Limassol under tight security on Friday.
State radio said the 24-year-old, who holds a Swedish passport, faces 17 charges covering nine offences but did not specify what they were.
Friday's edition of the Phileleftheros newspaper said the charges were related to the anti-terrorism law covering conspiracy to commit a crime, spying, refusing to divulge information to the police and providing support to a terrorist organization.
At a closed-door hearing, the court agreed to a prosecution request that the man remain in custody until his trial date.
The suspect's lawyer did not request bail saying his client feared for his life due to the publicity the case has attracted, state radio reported.
Cyprus police have refused to comment publicly on the case on the grounds that it is a "sensitive political issue" but did say investigators have found no evidence to suggest he had any accomplices.
The suspect was arrested in a Limassol hotel room on July 7 after flying in from London's Heathrow.
Police suspect he was in Cyprus to track movements of Israeli tourists and find out when group tours arrived on the holiday island.
Reports say his arrest followed a tip-off from foreign intelligence agencies, including Israel's Mossad.
Cyprus has bolstered security for Israeli interests on the island following a suicide bombing in Bulgaria that killed six people on July 18, five of them Israeli tourists.
Israel has blamed that attack on Iran and Hizbullah, and says it fitted a pattern of other attacks or attempted attacks on Israelis including in Thailand, India, Georgia and Kenya.
Officials have said there is no evidence to directly link the suspect to last week's suicide bombing in Bulgaria but security has been beefed at ports and "where possible incidents" might happen.
Earlier this week, Justice Minister Loucas Louca spoke of similarities with the bus bombing at Burgas airport.
"I didn't say his action is similar, but that some points of his behavior are similar to the elements of the behavior of the terrorist in the bomb attack in Bulgaria," Louca told a news conference.
In 2011, nearly 32,000 tourists came to Cyprus from Israel, less than an hour's flight away, and official figures for June have shown a sharp upward trend this year.
The island saw attacks against Israeli interests in the late 70s and early 80s, but since then it has been viewed as neutral ground for unofficial Middle East peace contacts.