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Report into conscript’s death handed to police

thanasis nicolaou report
Savvas Matsas handing the report to Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides last month (Christos Theodorides)

Police on Tuesday received the conclusions of the latest report into the 2005 death of national guardsman Thanasis Nicolaou.

Attorney General George Savvides delivered the circumstances of the 26-year-old conscript’s death, initially attributed to suicide, to the deputy chief of the police. This third inquiry points to murder.

The report was delivered in the presence of Antonis Alexopoulos, whom Savvides appointed as a criminal investigator to assist in further investigations, the AG tweeted.

The other criminal investigator involved in the report, Savvas Matsas, was removed from the case after he spoke to the media about details in the report that according to the AG should not have been published.

Speaking on CyBC radio, Matsas said he was sad but not surprised by the decision, explaining that any attorney general would have done the same.

He added that the statements he made about manslaughter and responsibility were nothing more than what was stated in the European Court of Human Rights decision two years ago. The European court ruled in 2020 that the domestic authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation into the circumstances surrounding Nicolaou’s death.

Recently, Matsas spoke publicly about negligence and alluded to a cover-up.

Saying the witness material consists of six voluminous files of about 4,000 to 4,500 pages, he noted that “without giving names, I have made general statements, simply to inform the world about the essence of the investigation, nothing more.”

The investigator had said that unsubstantiated findings were claimed to be facts throughout the entire case, while suspicious circumstances and evidence were completely ignored, leading to an “incomplete and incorrect investigation”.

The report he prepared together with Alexopoulos was 92 pages long.

Nicolaou was found dead under the Alassa bridge in Limassol 17 years ago. His mother, Andriana, has been unrelenting on the matter as she never believed the narrative that her son had committed suicide, instead pointing to fellow army mates as having bullied her son.

 

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