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Daughter's Death Not Accident - Rantsev

Nikolay Rantsev21-year-old Oxana Rantseva's death in Limassol after a fall from the seventh floor was not an accident, said her father Nikolay Rantsev, citing inconsistencies in evidence gathered at the scene.

Rantsev was speaking at a press conference at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

"There were a lot of inconsistencies, her body was in the middle of the road. If she'd fallen from the window she would have been next to the building," he said to reporters.

"This made me doubt that it was an accident as claimed," he said.

Rantsev has spent the last nine years of his life trying to find out what happened to his daughter, who left Russia to work in Limassol. She was found dead on March 29th, 2001 about two weeks after arriving on the island. On January 7th 2010, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found Cyprus guilty of failing to protect Rantseva from human trafficking.

"My daughter signed a contract as an interpreter while she was in Russia. When she arrived in Larnaca, the contract was changed and she was taken to work as an artiste in the Zygos cabaret," said Rantsev.

Rantseva refused to work at the cabaret after three nights and vanished, said her father.

"She left a note saying I'm sick and tired and I'm going back to Russia," he said.

Ten days later, her employer found her, put her in the trunk of the car and took her to the police station, said Rantsev. The duty officer then handed her back to the employer in the early morning hours of March 29th, and 40 minutes later, she was found dead, according to Rantsev's comments.

"I sold my apartment and used the money to pay for an investigation. I've had two heart attacks...it's not a matter of money. Before I leave this earth and join  my daughter, I want to know under what circumstances this blasphemy was carried out against my daughter," he said.

Rantsev alleged that there are companies in Cyprus which recruit young girls and even children from Russia; "traffickers recruit children from the outskirts of Moscow and send them into slavery. It's not the children of the rich who are recruited."

He said that there is a growing demand for trafficking: "you can imagine the profits that are made. A girl is bought for a couple of hundred euros." There are whole families working in the industry, he said.

Rantsev called on the Cyprus and international authorities to keep better track of the people entering the island on short-term contracts, and highlighted that there are church groups who help victims of trafficking on the island.

"I have written to Hilary Clinton and asked her to help me so that this case is not simply swept under the carpet," he said.

Rantsev lodged his complaint against Cyprus in the ECHR in May, 2004. In February 2009, the Cyprus government appointed three independent experts to investigate the circumstances of Rantseva's death, employment and stay in Cyprus and any unlawful acts against her.

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