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13 June, 2024
 
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Investigator Matsas reveals three suspects linked to Thanasis' death

European court condemns Cyprus handling of Nikolaou's case

Newsroom

In a startling development, criminal investigator Savas Matzas has disclosed the presence of three suspects in the tragic case of Thanasis Nikolaou, shedding light on the grim details of how the unfortunate national guard met his demise.

During an interview with journalist Glafkos Michailidis, Mr. Matzas revealed, "Three are the culprits. One was holding him, another was choking him, and another was beating him with a bat. The perpetrators are equally responsible."

The conclusion of the third death investigation and independent criminal investigators

The death of Thanasis Nikolaou has been officially determined as resulting from strangulation due to a criminal act, announced death investigator Doria Varosiotou at the Limassol District Court on Friday afternoon, May 10. This conclusion follows a thorough investigation into the demise of the 26-year-old national guard, whose lifeless body was discovered on September 29, 2005, beneath the Alassa bridge.

The exhaustive third death interrogation, which commenced last October, concluded today after a rigorous three-hour process. This outcome serves as a vindication for the family of Thanasis Nikolaou, who have tirelessly fought for 19 years to establish that his death was not a suicide but a result of foul play.

Appointed by the Council of Ministers as independent criminal investigators in the case, lawyer Thanasis Athanasiou and retired Major General of the Greek Police, Lambros Pappas, undertook the arduous task of unraveling the truth behind Nikolaou's demise.

Unraveling the shocking facts of the case

Thanasis Nikolaou, a 26-year-old architect from Australia residing in Limassol, arrived in Cyprus in 2005 for a six-month stint of military service in the National Guard. Prior to his tragic death, Nikolaou had endured harassment and intimidation from fellow National Guardsmen stationed at the same camp. In the days leading up to his demise, he had lodged complaints with superiors regarding the mistreatment he endured. Despite his efforts to seek recourse, he met a grim fate.

The fateful day

On the morning of September 29, 2005, Nikolaou set out to report to his unit after spending the night elsewhere. Clad in fresh attire and armed with provisions purchased the previous evening, he embarked on what would be his final journey. However, concerns arose when he failed to arrive at the camp, prompting frantic searches. Eventually, his lifeless body was discovered under the Alassa bridge, devoid of external injuries but with telltale signs of struggle.

Challenging the initial conclusion

Following a nine-month investigation, forensic pathologist Panicos Stavrinos initially concluded that Nikolaou's death was a result of self-inflicted injuries sustained from a fall. However, subsequent scrutiny, including the appointment of criminal investigators and a re-examination by forensic expert Marios Matsakis, cast doubt on the initial ruling.

Legal battles and international scrutiny

The family of Thanasis Nikolaou, steadfast in their belief that his death was not a suicide, pursued legal recourse, culminating in an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In a landmark decision in January 2020, the ECHR censured the Republic of Cyprus for its handling of the case, deeming the investigation inadequate and ordering compensation for the family.

New forensic findings

In a significant development, specialized examinations conducted in Greece following the exhumation of Nikolaou's remains concluded that his death was attributable to strangulation, corroborating suspicions of foul play.

The quest for justice continues as authorities grapple with the grim reality of Thanasis Nikolaou's untimely demise, underscoring the imperative of unwavering dedication to uncovering the truth and holding perpetrators accountable.

[With information sourced from 24 News]

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Cyprus  |  crime

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