Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Cypriot refugee wins case against British trespassers

The breaking news is that the Court of Appeal in London has backed the European Court of Justice ruling that a British couple must stop trespassing on land in occupied Cyprus, return it to the original Greek owner and pay him compensation. The case refers to Linda and David Orams who built a villa in the village of Lapithos, in the Kyrenia district, on land belonging to Meletios Apostolides, who was forced out by the Turkish invasion in 1974.

Read the BBC's account of the ruling here.
Read the Cyprus Mail's report here.

Read previous Hellenic Antidote posts on the case here, here, here.

I might write some more about the ruling as its implications become clearer; but just two points for the moment.

I liked the comments Apostolides' lawyer, Kontstantinos Kantounas, made on RIK this morning regarding the Court of Appeal ruling and the fact that the Turkish side had employed on their behalf the self-styled human rights lawyer Cherie Booth-Blair, the wife of former UK PM Tony Blair.

Kantounas said it was a real bonus for the Greek side that Blair was involved in the case because it made it much more high profile and brought the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus to public and media attention in a way that would normally cost millions. He also said the fact that the Turks employed such a prominent lawyer and threw all the resources they could muster at defeating Apostolides and still lost the case, will give extra validity to the ruling and the legitimacy of Greek Cypriot arguments.

Also, since the Turkish invasion in 1974, Cyprus has relied on law and morality to resist the occupation and re-establish justice on the island. This ruling is a vindication of this strategy. Of course, it remains to be seen how Apostolides will have his land returned to him – the ruling cannot, obviously, be enforced in the Turkish-occupied north and it's not as if Apostolides can start making plans to resume living in Lapithos – but, at least, it will provide him – and all 200,000 Greek refugees – with the legal tools and the moral boost to continue the struggle to liberate Cyprus from the Turkish occupation.

(Pictured are Meletios Apostolides (left) and his lawyer Konstantinos Kantounas at the buffer zone in Nicosia).


lastgreek said...

The Orams will now require the services of a reliable demolition company. Squibb International Demolition Works LLC is a British company based in Dubai and works in the Middle East. They have over 60 years experience.

P.S. Warning: The BBC link has a picture of the revolting Orams. Ugh!

John Akritas said...

LG. It seems the Oramses are now considering tearing down the villa, otherwise the heroic Apostolides will come after their home in England, which would be something I'd like to see.