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Charges dropped against gambling grannies

Cyprus authorities said they would drop charges against dozens of elderly women for gambling, after...

World

Cyprus authorities said they would drop charges against dozens of elderly women for gambling, after reports of their prosecution triggered disbelief among the public.

Some 42 women aged between 60 and 98 had received a summons to appear in court this month, after police nabbed them for playing a local version of gin rummy at a private residence in 2009.

Gambling for even the smallest amounts, is banned on the east Mediterranean island. In the women's case, police netted a total figure of about €100.
By contrast, online gambling, an industry which has an estimated turnover exceeding €1 billion yearly, is unregulated. Even though lawmakers plan to introduce legislation on the matter next month.

"I asked for the file on the case and I immediately gave instructions for prosecution to be suspended," Attorney-General Petros Clerides told state television.

The women, dubbed "Supergrans" by one newspaper, say their hobby helps keep their minds alert and allows them to socialise.

"What would they have expected us to do when we are 96," said Eftychia Yiasemidou. Now 98, the former schoolteacher says she still indulges in her favourite hobby. "I only stopped about 20 days ago, temporarily, because of the cold weather," she told the Politis daily.

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