The case of a soldier with a disputed cause of death while serving his mandatory army term in Cyprus in 2005 has taken yet another twist.
Specifically, the lawyer representing Thanasis Nicolaou’s family has sent a strong letter to the Law Office demanding immediate action to be taken against an Athens-based anatomic pathologist who had been appointed by the state to carry out a specialized bone examination.
In the letter, dated July 20, lawyer Loukis Loukaides demanded that they “immediately oblige” Manolis Agapitos to return 37 tiles that have been illegally removed from a specific bone to Nicolaou’s family.
He also noted that the family is in upheaval because of this “sacrilege” at the expense of their loved one.
Thanasis’ mother Adriana Nicolaou told Philenews on Thursday that Loukaides has warned that if the piles are not returned “we will be in an unpleasant position to take immediate legal action against Mr. Agapitos and his associates.”
A month ago, the Law Office said they were ready to order a new investigation – the third of a kind – after fresh forensic evidence pointed to strangulation in the death of the soldier.
The army and police had said the conscript had committed suicide while serving in Cyprus.
Even though the family of then 26-year-old conscript kept insisting all along that the army had covered up a crime.
The family which demands that the culprits are exposed and punished never believed Thanasis had fallen off a bridge in Alassa, as was suggested by the army, police investigators and the coroner who carried out the post mortem.
After an exhumation order was granted by a Limassol district judge last December, forensic specialists representing the family requested additional tests be carried out in Greece on a specific piece of bone.
The Legal department initially refused to consent to any exhumed remains being sent abroad for specialized testing, but after persistence from the family and Greek experts, permission was finally granted for the hyoid bone to be flown to Athens.
The family has said that anatomic pathologist Demetra Karayianni who was appointed by them had examined a specific piece of bone and it was determined that the soldier’s cause of death was strangulation and not suicide.
In 2006 a year-long police investigation concluded that Nicolaou had fallen from a bridge 30 metres high and died, ruling out foul play.
A state forensic pathologist, who conducted the initial autopsy at the scene, had determined the cause of death was free fall and the manner of death was suicide.
But the family raised doubts over the investigation from the very beginning, maintaining all along that the young soldier was being bullied in the army and that military officers had not been honest about many issues in the case.
Back in January 2020, the European Court of Human Rights found the Republic of Cyprus in violation of human rights in connection with the case, prompting the mother to openly accuse the state of a cover-up and demand an exhumation a month later.