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Cyprus

Damages for family of twins killed in Mari blast

Twin brothers Miltos and Christos Christoforou were just 18 when they were killed in the explosion at Mari on July 11, 2011

The Larnaca district court on Thursday awarded some €600,000 in damages to the family of twin brothers killed in a naval base explosion in 2011, saying they had suffered the greatest loss out of all those affected.

Sailors Miltos and Christos Christoforou, 18, were among 13 people killed – seven sailors and six fire fighters – in the munitions explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base on July 11, 2011.

The lawsuit was filed by the twins’ parents.

“It is a big price for a family to lose two children in one day,” the court said. “Such a thing should not be allowed to happen. The plaintiffs have suffered the greatest loss out of all the families affected by the tragedy.”

The court added: “The state committed a crime and justice has the awful duty of writing the epilogue. The Republic displayed criminal indifference for peoples’ lives.”

The blast was caused by munitions haphazardly stored at the base for more than two years.

The munitions, stored in 98 containers, had been confiscated in 2009 from a Cyprus-flagged ship en route to Syria, and were then stacked in an open space at the base and left exposed to the elements until the day of the explosion, despite repeated warnings about the risks.

Beyond the loss of life, the blast incapacitated the island’s biggest power station, located next door, which had a crippling effect on the already ailing economy and meant that during the peak of the summer heat people in many areas of Cyprus were left without electricity.

“Parents who send their children to serve in the National Guard know that that lives will be lost on the battlefield for a scared cause,” the court said. “Beyond such conditions however, and during peace time, they expect the state to provide due care so that their children will return home safe and sound at the end of their service.”

The court awarded the family €257,000 plus interest for each of the twins. The family had also received €190,000 from the state in the past.

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