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Examination of deceased soldier’s remains resumes on Tuesday

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Photo: CNA

Most of the work involved in examining the bones of a deceased national guardsman was completed on Saturday and the process will be resumed on Tuesday, it was reported on Sunday.

The remains of Thanasis Nicolaou were exhumed on Thursday, 15 years after his death, following years of perseverance by his family who dispute the initial verdict that he committed suicide.

The remains are under guard at the Limassol hospital morgue where examination of the bones is underway.
Forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis who represents the family, told CNA the procedure would resume on Tuesday at the Nicosia hospital but the remains will not be moved, he said.

“We will go there with an anthropologist of the Republic for some specialised examinations that need to be done. We will not transfer the young man’s bones there, we will just go for the specific procedures,” he said.

Then, according to Matsakis, the family will go to court again to apply for a warrant for the transfer of the bones abroad. “This is our goal, so that the necessary scientific research and examinations can be done,” he added.

Nicolaou, 26, who was doing his military service at the time, was found dead under a bridge in Alassa on September 29, 2005, about 12 kilometres from his home and barracks. He was meant to report back to his unit after an overnight leave. His death had been ruled a suicide by authorities, but his family disputed this finding and say they have evidence that disputes this verdict and indicates foul play with probable drowning.

They said he was bullied for the three months leading up to his death.

After the completion of the process, Professor Phillipos Koutsaftis, the state pathologists and Matsakis will prepare their separate reports. The findings will be submitted to the police who, in consultation with the attorney-general, will decide on the next steps.

The European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) ruled in February that the authorities had failed to carry out an effective investigation into Nicolaou’s death.

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