Overview: The Government of the Republic of Cyprus collaborated closely with the United States, the EU, and other countries – bilaterally and multilaterally – in international counterterrorism efforts. The Cypriots successfully prosecuted Hossam Yaacoub Taleb, a Lebanese Hizballah operative, for conducting surveillance activities on Israeli targets in Cyprus. In issuing its opinion, the court declared that Hizballah was a criminal organization with regards to the defendant's activities in Cyprus, and convicted Yaacoub of a range of criminal charges including participation in a criminal organization, participation and acceptance in committing a crime, and money laundering. This case played an instrumental role in EU designation of the military wing of Hizballah as a terrorist organization. The defense filed an appeal, and the appellate court held a hearing in October. The court's decision was pending at year's end. Cyprus' counterterrorism partnership with the United States included regular, routine protection for transiting U.S. military personnel, aircraft, and naval vessels throughout 2013;and participation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance and Regional Security Initiative programs, which strengthened the government's capacity to counter terrorism.

Since 1974, Cyprus has been divided de facto into the Republic of Cyprus government-controlled area, composed of the southern two-thirds of the island, and a northern third, administered by the Turkish Cypriots. The Republic of Cyprus government does not exercise effective control over the area administered by the Turkish Cypriots. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriots declared the northern part an independent "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)." The United States does not recognize the "TRNC," nor does any country other than Turkey. The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus patrols the buffer zone separating the two sides, but people, narcotics, and other illicit goods routinely cross uncontrolled.

The division of the island has obstructed counterterrorism cooperation between the two communities, and between the Republics of Cyprus and Turkey. Turkish Cypriots lacked the legal and institutional framework necessary to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism effectively. Within these limitations, however, Turkish Cypriots cooperated in pursuing specific counterterrorism objectives.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Republic of Cyprus enacted a National Law on Combating Terrorism in 2010 that incorporates EU Council Framework Decisions. The criminal code has been used to prosecute terrorism-related offenses; for example, the prosecution pursued criminal charges against Yaacoub for his surveillance activities of Israeli tourist targets in Cyprus.

In 2013, the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, in his capacity as Cyprus' National Counterterrorism Coordinator, supervised an ad hoc interagency committee to draft a new National Counterterrorism Strategy for the Republic of Cyprus that will be based on the four pillars of the corresponding EU strategy: "Prevent, Pursue, Protect, and Respond." The strategy's aim is to reduce the terrorist threat in Cyprus while safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms. The committee consulted relevant government departments of the Republic of Cyprus and cooperated with similar authorities in the UK and the United States to prepare the strategy. The United States funded a seminar on Integrating Counterterrorism Strategies at the National Level. Other U.S. training programs have strengthened the capacity of Cypriot judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement to adjudicate terrorist cases and strengthen border protection.

Cyprus National Police (CNP) created and put into practice a screening watchlist mechanism. On the CNP's Counterterrorism Office watchlist, among others, are all persons subject to travel bans and asset freezing sanctions by UNSCRs and EU decisions concerning terrorism. The Aliens and Immigration Unit of the Cyprus Police, in cooperation with FRONTEX, has also prepared a strategic plan to combat illegal immigration and relevant cross-border crime. The plan includes: information exchange with other EU member states and third countries; participation in FRONTEX operations; and activities to train border guards in passport control issues and profiling of immigrants, potential victims, and suspects involved in serious organized crime and terrorism.

Cypriot law enforcement received and examined some reports of suspected terrorist activities, but they found no evidence of terrorism. There was no noticeable activity of the Kurdistan Workers' Party in 2013. Based on threat information and assessments, proportionate security measures were put in place for the protection of western interests and soft targets.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Cyprus is a member of the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Cyprus' financial intelligence unit (FIU), the Unit for Combating Money Laundering (MOKAS), is a member of the Egmont Group. In April and May, Cyprus was reviewed by a special committee of experts from Moneyval and the IMF as part of a general bailout of the country's banking sector. Cyprus has pledged to strengthen the regulation of its significant international business sector given the anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism(AML/CFT) risks this sector poses in its current structure.

Cyprus executed formal requests for legal assistance submitted by other countries (EU as well as third countries), including the recognition and enforcement by Cyprus' courts of foreign freezing and confiscation orders. Cyprus has ratified and implements international and EU instruments in AML/CFT.

Cypriot authorities have taken legislative steps to counter and suppress AML/CFT activities. Section 8 of the Law on Combating Terrorism of 2010 criminalizes any form of support to terrorist groups, including financing. In 2013, the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering Activities Law was amended, mainly to implement recommendations made in the Fourth Assessment of Moneyval. Those amendments do not address terrorist financing exclusively.

The Republic of Cyprus government timely implemented new UNSCR 1267/1989 and 1988 sanctions listings and informally tracked suspect names listed under U.S. Executive Orders. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared, in cooperation with MOKAS, a draft bill imposing penalties in cases of violations or attempts to circumvent sanctions. At year's end, the bill was pending approval first by the Council of Ministers and then by the Republic of Cyprus' House of Representatives. The proposed legislation aims to criminalize infringements of UNSCRs and relevant sanctions adopted by the EU, as well as impose effective, proportionate, and dissuasive penalties.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Cyprus participated in counterterrorism initiatives of the UN, the OSCE, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended meetings of the Working Group on the External Aspects of Terrorism of the Council of the EU (COTER), and is represented at the Global Counterterrorism Forum by the European External Action Service (EEAS), as the EU is a full member of the organization.

The Cypriot Police's Counterterrorism Office also participated regularly in various regional working groups, including the EU Police Working Group on Terrorism, the Working Group on Terrorism of the EU Council, Europol's High-level Expert Meetings and First Response Network, and the European Expert Network on Terrorism.

Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Cyprus, as a member of the Terrorism Working Party of the Council of the EU, participated in the recent revision of the EU's Radicalization and Recruitment Action Plan. The Cyprus Police, as well as other services of the Republic of Cyprus, are implementing various measures of the Radicalization and Recruitment Action Plan and are participating in Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN) meetings. The Police's Counterterrorism Office is focused on the ongoing training of first line police officers and prison employees about radicalization to violence. The Counterterrorism Office participated as a partner in the Community Policing and the Prevention of Radicalization (COPPRA) project. The COPPRA-produced training manuals are fully incorporated into the training programs on radicalization to violence that were created and implemented by the Cyprus Police's Counterterrorism Office. The prevention of recruitment and radicalization to violence also falls under the first pillar of PREVENT of the National Counterterrorism Strategy of the Republic of Cyprus.


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