After three years in custody without trial, a young Cypriot man finally gave up and allowed himself to be the first Cypriot ever to be extradited to the US.
On Thursday, July 16, Vivian Polloso received the phone call she had been dreading since January 2018.
She was told she had just hours to get to the airport if she wanted to see her 20-year-old son for the last time before being taken from prison in Nicosia and extradited to the US.
“If you want to see your son go to the airport before 4am,” Polloso, 57, was told.
“I managed to see my son for the last time for only two to three minutes!” the devastated mother told the Sunday Mail.
“I just managed to hug him and kiss him goodbye. It was devastating, heart-breaking!”
In the early hours of July 17, Joshua Epiphaniou – half Filipino, half Greek Cypriot – duly became the first-ever Cypriot citizen to be extradited to the US where he faces charges for cyber-crimes in Arizona and Georgia, allegedly committed from his bedroom in Nicosia when he was still a minor.
Epiphanius had been held in custody for three years without a trial and without a conviction for any offense, said one of his lawyers, Elena Erotokritou.
It is the saddest of ironies that the young computer whizz, who also has Asperger’s, effectively signed his own ‘death warrant’ by giving up on the tortuous appeal that was in progress over his extradition order.
That he took such drastic action, against the advice of Erotokritou, is the result of a justice system that abandoned him, she said.
“Had he been born into a well off, high society Cypriot family, it would have been different,” Erotokritou said.
On November 18, 2019, – two-and-a-half years after he was first arrested – the judge presiding over the US’ extradition application ruled that Epiphaniou should stand trial in the US.