The day after the European Court of Human Rights found Cyprus guilty in the case of Athanasios Nicolaou the family’s lawyer said on Wednesday they plan to go back to court next week with an exhumation request.
The 26-year-old was found dead while serving his six-month compulsory military term back in 2005, and the ECHR condemned the Republic for not carrying out a proper investigation into the case.
His body was found under a bridge, not far from his parked car, after his family were alerted that he had not returned to camp after an overnight leave.
His family alleged that he had been killed by other soldiers, even though the initial police investigation concluded in June 2006 that he had fallen from the bridge and died. It excluded any criminal act.
Family lawyer Konstantis Kantounas also told state radio that Nikolaou’s parents and three siblings demand an exhumation so that all necessary examinations are carried out.
“The family is in a tragic state. Do you understand what it means to have to dig out your child after 15 years so as to see what really happened to him?,” he added.
At the same time, the family demands that those involved in the young man’s death case should be held responsible.
Police officers had gone to the spot the body was found, considered it a suicide and failed to take the necessary steps, Kantounas said.
This is a decision that puts enormous responsibly on the shoulders of specific police officers, and there are additional reports pointing out to forensic negligence as well, he added.
The Strasbourg-based Court asked the Republic to pay €32,000 euros in compensation for non-pecuniary damage to the Limassol-based applicants, that is Nicolaou’s family.
“The Court dealt with the complaint under the investigation obligation of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights,” a press release also said.
At the insistence of the family, Cypriot authorities had carried out a military investigation, two inquests, an investigation on behalf of the Council of Ministers, and a second police investigation, which ended in June 2018.
The Attorney General concluded in September 2018 that it was not possible to secure evidence to show that his death had been the result of a criminal act.
The applicants complained that the investigation into Nicolaou’s death had been inadequate.