The Cypriot court sentenced a 69-year-old man to eight years in prison after being found guilty of starting a fire that killed four Egyptian workers and burned 44 square kilometers of land in July 2021, the largest in Cyprus at the time.
Local media said the defendant was found guilty of all three counts of starting a fire in a rural area of Cyprus, where the court found the fire was maliciously premeditated.
The court heard statements indicating that the entire village and the fire service had been mobilized to put out the fire.
The accused left the café and went to the neighboring village of Eptagonia to have coffee again.
In the sentencing decision, the aggravating factor of the accused’s behavior was taken into account when he started a fire and went for coffee without showing any interest in what was happening.
Mitigating factors considered were the man’s otherwise clean criminal record, personal and family circumstances, as well as his advanced age.
The fire affected more than seven villages neighboring Arakapas and burned forests, animals, agriculture, homes and businesses, while tragically claiming the lives of four Egyptian workers, according to local Cypriot newspapers.
“It is a tragedy. The largest fire since 1974. Losses of life, property, land and forest were destroyed. The government will provide immediate assistance to the victims and the families of the victims. We will not leave anyone abandoned in the destruction of the fire,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades tweeted in 2021.