Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Letters

To: Lord Alan Sugar
14 October 2010
BBC Apprentice candidate Jamie Lester – profits from stolen land
Dear Lord Sugar

As a British human rights NGO, we wish to draw your attention to Apprentice Candidate Jamie Lester, described as a property developer in northern Cyprus. 

Through your duties for Parliament you may be aware of the Lobby for Cyprus presence, as we have strong links with many MPs including, Alan Meale, MP for Mansfield, Andrew Love, MP for Edmonton, David Burrows, MP for Enfield, Southgate and many others.

It is a source of great distress to British Cypriot citizens who have lost their homes and lands in the occupied area of Cyprus to see Mr Lester attempt to impress you with his experience in business, when he is dealing in properties –possibly their properties- built on illegally occupied land. 

In addition to the distress caused to the Cypriot people, and to the sizeable British Cypriot community, the Apprentice is further misleading viewers.  

No Government, aside from Turkey, has recognised the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, since the invasion of Cyprus in 1974. 

It is illegal under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus to sell land that is occupied by Turkey, and orders will be granted for demolition of properties built on such land illegally. The recent case of Apostolides v Orams (in the European Court of Justice and English Court of Appeal) confirms that orders made by the Cyprus courts relating to land in the occupied area can and will be enforced in courts throughout the EU.  

No doubt Jamie Lester is well aware of the situation, but continues to sell these properties regardless of the risks faced by buyers who may be forced to demolish the properties and pay large amounts of compensation to the original legal owners.  

In an interview for online magazine Success Ruari Phillips in January 2009 Jamie Lester is quoted as follows:  “I’ve always hated three words when you can use two. I publish a magazine every month giving potential customers an insight into the north Cyprus property market. There’s a lot of information in there but nothing is complicated and we don’t use jargon. People want facts – especially when they’re making such a big decision as investing in a property. It’s no joke!”  

We attach reprinted guidelines from UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and leave it to you and your advisors to assess whether these are a joke. Clearly the BBC researchers did not look at these when vetting Mr Lester, as the dangers of buying stolen property are made very clear.  No doubt this causes you embarrassment in view of your position at the House of Lords.

We have no doubt that you will be asking the BBC to clarify why it has put you in this position, and that you will remedy the situation by suspending the candidate, and ensuring that, even though episodes have been filmed in advance, Jamie Lester is not in the final. 

Yours sincerely 
Lobby for Cyprus