Cyprus Mail

Former army chief faces prosecution over Mari

By Evie Andreou

FORMER National Guard chief Petros Tsalikides faces prosecution and trial by a court martial in Athens over his role in the events that lead to the explosion at the naval base in Mari in 2011 that killed thirteen people.

Tsalikides, who has left the island and did not appear in court during the Mari trial at the Larnaca criminal court, now faces charges of 13 counts of intentional homicide and serial deception.

According to reports, an interrogator of the Greek court marshal is expected to arrive in Cyprus within the month in order to investigate the case since the arrest warrant issued against Tsalikides was never applied due to inter-government agreements that provide that army officers that serve in other countries can only be prosecuted in their home state.

“Tsalikides had direct involvement in the events that lead to the explosion as the chief of the National Guard. He participated in all high level meetings regarding Mari and he had direct involvement in the last week on issues regarding information in regards with the first explosion on July 4, 2011,” Michalis Theofilou, father of Panayiotis Theofilou one of the 13 killed in the explosion was quoted by state broadcaster CyBC as saying.

Theofilou said that no army official was ever convicted for the explosion.

The interrogator will visit the Evangelos Florakis naval base in Mari and has asked for the state-appointed investigator Polys Polyviou’s report into the Mari naval base blast.

He is expected to question police, army and fire service officials, as well as relatives of the 13 people that died from the explosion.


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