President Christodoulides announces further investigation into the murder of Thanasis Nicolaou

President Nikos Christodoulides has pledged to investigate the handling of the tragic case of National Guard soldier Thanasis Nicolaou. The landmark ruling overturned the “suicide” finding that authorities had insisted on for 19 years.

Nicolaou, who left Australia to serve in the Greek Cypriot army, was found dead under the Alassa Bridge in September 2005 at the age of 26. Forensic pathologist Panicos Stavrianos had originally pronounced suicide, but the family has always maintained it was a murder cover-up.

Judge Doria Varoshiotou’s ruling on Friday confirmed her suspicions and found that Nicolaou was strangled by a left-handed man. Nicolaou’s death came after he reported bullying and suspected drug trafficking in his army unit, fearing retaliation.

The president’s comments came after a court ruling found that Nicolaou was killed by strangulation, a finding the family has long argued about.

Christodoulides explained that the executive branch will examine why appropriate measures have not been taken in the case since 2005, stressing the need to understand “why necessary steps have not been taken for 19 years.”

“You can imagine how many governments came and went,” he said.

He added that both the cabinet and he met with Thanasis’ mother Andriana Nicolaou after he took office and said the executive would do whatever was necessary to address the situation. He stressed the importance of the court decision, but also stressed the need to examine the lack of action over the years.

“I personally had a meeting away from the limelight (with her). It is a tragic aspect that cannot be communicated or exploited by anyone. I met with her and we had several calls. Given the decision, I am not ruling out anything for the executive branch’s next steps.”

When asked about the possibility of hiring an independent investigator, he did not rule it out and called the case “tragic.”