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Turkish gypsies begin jail terms
in The Cyprus Mail, April 22, 2001

by a Staff Reporter

Two Turkish women yesterday began three-month jail terms in the Nicosia Central Prisons.

They were found guilty by Nicosia District Court of illegal entry into the island on Friday.

The two were part of a group of 45 gypsies who crossed over from the occupied north earlier this month.

Twenty-three gypsies from the group returned to the north on Thursday while 10 have reportedly moved to Paphos.

The women are married to Turkish Cypriots and have three and two children respectively.

Their husbands, along with the three children of one of the women, have been allowed to stay with them at a purpose-built facility within the prison compound.

The court heard that the women entered the island through the occupied port of Kyrenia in 1992 and 1996.

Both women told the court that they had no idea their entry through Kyrenia was illegal because of the 1974 invasion.

Judge Lena Demetriadou said she was surprised at the women's ignorance, and added that their offence was very serious due to the circumstances imposed by the Turkish invasion.

"How is it that Turkish citizens do not know that a large part of Cyprus was occupied in 1974 after an armed conflict?" Demetriadou said.

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