Justice Minister Stephie Dracou on Thursday said she was sorry it took 17 years for Thanasis Nicolaou’s 2005 death to be properly investigated.
The latest twist in the tragic tale of the national guardsman, who died in 2005, saw the legal team of Panicos Stavrianos – the medical examiner at the time – report the officers, hinting that it is they who are responsible for any mishandling of the initial investigation.
His report comes after the attorney-general instructed the police to launch another investigation into the case, appointing four members who have three months to wrap it up.
The latest development was reported by Phileleftheros and comes after a third investigation into the young man’s death, which itself was launched following the Republic’s chastisement by ECHR over the mishandling of the case.
“As a citizen, as a mother, I would like to extend an apology to Thanasis’ mother,” Dracou said, speaking to reporters on a visit to Lania police station. “I am really sorry that this case is unfolding after 17 years. I wish we could go back”.
The justice minister pledged to do whatever is possible within the framework of her competences to help with the investigation. “I can tell you that I am following the case, I am informed and I assure you that it is a matter that interests me…what needs to be done will be done”.
Dracou mentioned the meeting held at her ministry with the health minister and the chief of police, where they discussed the issue of the forensic service, but she did not clarify whether decisions have been made.
It is understood that the latest report casts some responsibility on Stavrianos and points to murder as the cause of death – not suicide as was initially claimed.
One of the investigators tasked with the latest report said that criminal acts had been committed, casting serious doubt over Stavrianos’ findings in 2005 that the death was a suicide.
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.