The lawyer for the family of a soldier, who was strangled to death in 2005 during his mandatory army service, has given the state’s attorney general ten days to hand over an independent report or face legal action.
A report on the death of Thanasis Nicolaou, a 26-year-old conscript who was found dead under a bridge in Alassa on 29 September 2005, is still in the hands of Attorneys General George Savvides, who had tasked independent investigators to look into the suicide case after the private’s mother insisted from the very beginning that her son did not take his own life.
Last month local media confirmed news that the latest findings vindicated Andriana Nicolaou, Thanasis’ mother who previously took her case to international court and won after it was determined that the state failed to investigate the death properly.
Report names persons of interest as possible suspects
The death was initially ruled a suicide but years later it was found to have been a criminal act, with media leaks suggesting the report named three police officers who botched the investigation and another three persons of interest who could have been possible suspects but were never questioned.
Cypriot lawyer Loukis Loukaides, a former ECHR judge and high-powered attorney who represents the Nicolaou family, has hinted at lawsuits if prosecutors fail to go after the perpetrators.
Loukaides also asked for the probe findings to be handed over to him or the mother, with local media saying the attorney was puzzled as to why the report has yet to be shared with the family of the victim.
'Do you expect if the report is studied that the lady in question will admit her claims had been false?' Loukaides wondered
“Neither I nor the victim’s mother have been given a copy of the report of the investigators, who probed the erroneous investigation,” Loukaides said, referring to a previous investigation that was criticized by the European Court of Human Rights.
“This omission goes against the jurisprudence of the said court,” the lawyer said.
According to Philenews, Loukaides has written a total of three letters to Savvides, who had previously blocked other attempts by the mother to seek more evidence in the case.
“Incidentally I should point out that staff from your office, acting as representatives of the attorney general, raised objection and argued against our request dated 2 September 2016 with which we were seeking an order on the very basis that there had been oversights and insufficient effort,” Loukaides reportedly said in his letter.
“Do you expect if the report is studied that the lady in question will admit her claims had been false?” Loukaides wondered.
The mother has called on the killers of her son to be brought to justice, in addition to officials who may have covered up the crime or botched the investigation.
Local media said the state forensic pathologist who said Thanasis had jumped off a tall bridge was also facing scrutiny, after the mother from day one kept providing evidence that her son had no external injuries.
Loukaides has in the past criticized the justice system in the Republic of Cyprus, going as far as to call for the re-training of judges, law officials, as well as state prosecutors.