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Ex-Cyprus ambassador jailed on sex charges

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17:57 CET+01:00
A Cypriot diplomat was Monday jailed for seven months after being found guilty of several charges of sexual harassment while serving as ambassador to Sweden.

Costas Papadimas was convicted last month on 23 out of 24 counts of sexual harassment and indecent assault against two Greek secretaries at the Cyprus embassy in Stockholm between 2002 and 2005.

"The accused's overall behaviour is completely reprehensible," said the court in passing the sentence.

"His inexcusable and indecent actions not only sullied the good name of the country which he served -- essentially undermining the mission entrusted him by the state -- but also violated gender equality laws," the court added.

The three-judge bench dismissed a defence request for a suspended jail term saying the diplomat's unwanted attentions "generated fear, anxiety and insecurity to the complainants, simultaneously crushing their mental state".

The 50-year-old diplomat appeared in court Monday after suffering a "minor heart attack" on the eve of his previous scheduled appearance on January 5.

The Nicosia court came to a guilty verdict on December 20 after it heard testimony by the two secretaries about their ordeal at the hands of Papadimas.

By contrast, the judges ruled that the diplomat's evidence under oath was "completely untrustworthy" and an effort to "cover up what really happened by telling untruths".

The court heard in detail numerous accounts of how the diplomat treated his female staff as sex objects, groping them at every opportunity while bombarding them with sexual innuendo and love poetry.

And the court was told how on one occasion the diplomat masturbated under his desk while one of the women was in the room.

His defence argued that the father-of-two actually had an affair with one of the women who sought revenge after being jilted.

Papadimas, who appealed the conviction, now faces a dishonourable discharge

from the diplomatic service.

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