Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou reportedly visited Cyprus’ longest-serving lifer Panayiotis Kafkaris’ on Friday after the convict began a hunger strike for another shot at parole, which he was denied last November.
An appeal against the decision filed with the Supreme Court was recently thrown out. Kafkaris began his hunger strike on Thursday.
According to a report in Politis, Nicolaou visited the convict on Friday and asked Kafkaris, 69, to stop his hunger strike and that he would personally speak to the parole board to reconsider the inmate’s request.
Kafkaris was convicted of killing a businessman and his two children in Limassol 1987.
The parole board rejected his application by a three to two majority vote. Kafkaris can only apply again two years from the date of his last application.
He was sentenced to three life sentences March 1989, following the murder of 45-year-old businessman Panicos Michael and his two children aged 11 and 13.
Kafkaris had placed a bomb under Michael’s vehicle, which he detonated, killing all three.
During his trial he said he had been paid CYP £10,000 to kill Michael but he never revealed the name of the person who ordered the murder. It is understood that this is the reason why he was not granted parole.
The convict has been fighting his imprisonment in a variety of legal ways including recourse to the European Court of Human Rights over the duration of his sentence.
At the time of his offence, life imprisonment in Cyprus was 20 years. However, in 1988, the Nicosia Criminal Court interpreted life imprisonment as meaning imprisonment for life.
Consequently, when passing sentence in 1989, the Limassol Criminal Court, relied on the 1988 findings of its counterpart in Nicosia.