A 47 year old woman from the Philippines was jailed for six years on Thursday for her role in an illegal adoption case for a same sex couple — a Greek Cypriot and a Turk.
The couple have left Cyprus taking the baby. European and international warrants have been issued for their arrest but their whereabouts are unknown.
Cyprus’ adoption law specifies that a couple must be married in order to adopt, effectively barring same sex couples who can enter into civil partnerships here but cannot marry.
The defendant had brought the baby to Cyprus from the Philippines, appearing on a forged birth certificate as its birth mother. The Greek Cypriot man, who was the woman’s employer and is married to the Turkish man, appeared as the father on the same birth certificate.
The case dates back to 2018 when the Greek Cypriot man asked the Family Court for sole parental custody.
The latter asked the welfare services for a report which started to look into the issue. At that point — January this year — the Greek Cypriot father withdrew his application for custody.
An investigation led to the arrest of the 47 year old woman. She initially faced a total of 19 charges but four were later withdrawn and she pleaded guilty to the remaining 15, including trafficking a baby, making false statement and bringing a fake birth certificate.
According to the facts of the case as presented in the court decision the defendant had found a woman in the Philippines who was pregnant but wanted to give the baby for adoption.
The same sex couple made monthly payments to cover her costs of 200 euro a month during the pregnancy and another 400 euro on the birth of the baby. They also paid 300 a month for the baby’s expenses (it was being looked after by the defendant’s mother for about a year) until the baby was brought to Cyprus.
When the baby was born in a clinic in the Philippines the defendant arranged for her name to appear on the birth certificate. They later arranged for a fake birth certificate with the name of the Greek Cypriot man as the father so that the baby could get a visa to come to Cyprus.
Arguing in mitigation, the defence lawyer said the defendant was a single mother of two underage children. She had undertaken to help the Greek Cypriot man after emotional pressure because she was very attached to his family, having cared for his mother and father and he had pressured her for help to adopt a baby.
He added that her role had been that of a mediator and she had not accrued any substantial gain. She had regretted her actions and shown remorse, he added.
In handing down sentence, Nicosia Criminal Court said the charge of child trafficking was particularly serious and carried a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
It said it recognised that she had cooperated and shown remorse, helping to save court time. It also noted that the Greek Cypriot had used her and then left her to face the consequences, fleeing Cyprus through the occupied areas. The defendant was not the mastermind, the court added.