'Witchcraft' pair arrested in Cyprus

Two women have been arrested in Cyprus on suspicion of sorcery and fraud after allegedly swindling gullible victims by convincing them they were sick and cursed, local media said on Friday.

In one case, a Greek Cypriot woman was arrested after bilking 496 000 Cyprus pounds ($1-million) from a bank clerk between May 2005 and July 2006 after convincing the woman she was cursed and suffering from reproductive cancer, the English-language Cyprus Mail reported.

The newspaper did not name the bank or say where the clerk got the money.

“My God, how can you still be alive?” Vera Georgiou (39) allegedly asked her unnamed victim after turning over a succession of tarot cards that revealed pictures of devils and demons.

Georgiou “told her that a foreign woman had put a curse on somebody close to her and that the curse had spread to her and her two children,” police investigator Iraklis Pitsillis told the newspaper.

“The suspect then touched the woman’s genital area and told her that she would have cancer in that area and then die.”

The alleged witch told the woman she could devise a remedy and would not charge for the ritual but only for the products that would need to be imported, which eventually included a second “sorcerer.”

“Georgiou also told her that she should cut herself off from her friends, avoid any physical activity and never to tell anyone of what she has been instructed,” the report said.

The suspect then began to threaten the woman, saying she and her children “would die if she stopped the treatment which consisted of various potions and rituals being made on her behalf”.

Georgiou was arrested on September 25 and remanded into custody.

A few days later, it was also alleged that she cheated two Nicosia men out of furniture and 18 000 pounds ($39 500).

In the second sorcery case, a Turkish Cypriot woman allegedly offered to tell a 35-year-old man’s fortune for 20 pounds ($44), then warned him that he had been cursed and had only 22 days left to live.

Hariye Rezvanoglu (68) offered to lift the curse for 500 pounds ($1 100), which the man forked over the next day.

Rezvanoglu was arrested on September 27. She was released on bail of 5 000 ($11 000) on Thursday and is to face trial in November 27. - Sapa-AFP

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