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Cyprus

State seeks truth over soldier’s 2005 death, says AG

Thanasis Nicolaou's parents have always disputed the suicide ruling

Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides on Wednesday said the state would do its best to help provide answers to the questions tormenting the family of a 26-year-old soldier who was believed to have committed suicide 16 years ago but recent findings suggest he may have been murdered.

Savvides said he met with the family of Thanasis Nicolaou on Tuesday and their lawyers. Asked whether a criminal investigation will be carried out, Savvides said that the legal service will evaluate the positions of the family and their lawyers.

He gave reassurances that the legal service was “on the same side” with Nicolaou’s family and the state’s goal was to help them find the truth.

The inquest hearing is scheduled for Friday in Limassol, “and we will proceed accordingly” Savvides said.

“Our intention, however, is to help as much as we can so that we can answer some of the questions tormenting a family that has lost its child,” he said.

A pathologist hired by the family, after Nicolaou’s body was exhumed earlier this year, said earlier in June that the death was the result of strangulation and not suicide.

There is “a somewhat different position” of the specialist hired by the government, Savvides said.

“One of the things we discussed is to see if there is a way, maybe with the use or commission of a third scientist, to see if we can reach a conclusion where everyone feels safe as to the result,” Savvides said. “This alone however will not solve the problem of who might be responsible.”

Nicolaou died in September 2005. He was found dead under a bridge in Alassa, Limassol, about 12 kilometres from his home and barracks. His death had been ruled a suicide by authorities, a finding fiercely disputed by his family who have been fighting ever since to find out the truth.

 

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