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Cyprus

Parents demand new probe into 2005 death of their son

Andriana and Charalambos Nicolaou outside the supreme court in June 2018

Following their protest outside the attorney-general’s office some 10 days ago, the parents of a 26-year-old man who was found dead under a bridge in Limassol in 2005 while serving in the National Guard, demonstrated outside the supreme court on Monday demanding a new probe to shed light to the death of their child.

The parents believe Thanasis Nicolaou was murdered and there had been a cover-up.

Andriana Nicolaou, his mother, said Monday that her child had no reason to commit suicide.

“He was fine, he had everything,” she said. Nicolaou accused the authorities of corruption and efforts to provide cover to the culprits.

Andriana and Charalambos Nicolaou held a protest outside the attorney-general’s office on June 14, prompting an announcement that a police inquiry ordered in 2014 has been completed and will be forwarded to the Legal Service.

The initial court verdict of suicide has been changed over the years to “not suicide” with “inadequate evidence for criminal activity and probable death as a result of a fall from high up”.

However, the evidence gathered by the mourning parents disputes this verdict and indicates foul play with probable drowning.

Their son, Thanasis had moved from Australia with his architect’s degree from Melbourne University, to set up a new life and an office in Cyprus.

But he first had to complete six months of compulsory national service, during which, according to his parents, he was bullied for the first three months before he died on September 29, 2005.

After the initial police investigation, state pathologist Panicos Stavrianos told the mother that Thanasis had probably got dizzy and fallen off the bridge.

The mother spent six months fighting to get access to the police photographs and other forensic evidence of the scene, as she ruled out suicide.

She said the photos showed no broken or protruding bones and her son’s mouth was full of sand, even though he was found lying on his back, which she said went unexplored in the original report.

Over the years, the parents took the case file to experts in Greece and the UK, all of whom ruled out death by suicide or falling.

Judging from the photos and information provided, they concluded that their son was probably drowned and placed there.

The mother said her son had been bullied but had misgivings about reporting it to his superiors. After finally having papers thrown in his face by fellow soldiers, Thanasis filed a complaint to his commanding officer.

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