Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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25 October 2006
European Court of Human Rights agrees to hear case of murdered Cypriot
London--“His murder by the Turks was ten years ago, but it is still fresh in the minds of all believers in human rights,” said Lobby for Cyprus spokesman Nick Kounoupias, referring to the recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to hear the case of the death of Tassos Isaak which occurred on 11 August, 1996.

London--“His murder by the Turks was ten years ago, but it is still fresh in the minds of all believers in human rights,” said Lobby for Cyprus spokesman Nick Kounoupias, referring to the recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to hear the case of the death of Tassos Isaak which occurred on 11 August, 1996.

“Although the eyes of Europe are rightfully on Turkey’s refusal to abide by its commitments to the European Union
as it seeks accession to the EU, Turkey’s other violations of the standards of decency should not be forgotten,”
Nick Kounoupias said.

The 25-year-old Isaak was beaten to death while taking part in an anti-occupation demonstration at Dherynia, in the buffer zone dividing the Republic of Cyprus into the free areas the illegally occupied north. According to eye-witnesses, between 15 and 20 people who had gone into the buffer zone throwing stones and shouting abuse, including five uniformed police, surrounded Isaak.

He fell on the ground after becoming entangled in a barbed-wire fence while being chased by an armed mob and uniformed police and “for five minutes he was kicked and beaten on every part of his body.”

His family’s claim against Turkey cites loss of life, violation of the right to family life, and racism. In its report, the ECHR concluded that on the day of the demonstration, civilians from both sides had violated the cease-fire line and entered the buffer zone between the Republic of Cyprus and the illegal Turkish occupied zone.

Although the Court indicated that both sides bear some responsibility for the “tragic course the demonstration took,” it reserved for Turkey most of its criticisms. It agreed with the Isaak family’s lawyers that UN Force In Cyprus reports clearly showed that Turkish forces had allowed Turkish Cypriot demonstrators armed with batons and iron bars and the Turkish police to cross a restricted Turkish military area and enter the buffer zone.

The UN reports also showed that members of the Turkish Cypriot ‘police’ had “unequivocally” taken part actively in the beating of Isaak.

“Moreover it transpires from the case file that despite the presence of the Turkish armed forces and other…
police officers in the area, nothing was done to prevent or stop the attack or to help the victim,” the ECHR conclusions said.

“There was no difference between the behaviour of the Turkish civilians in the buffer zone and the Turkish Cypriot officers there in uniform,” the UN report indicated.

Turkey has continued to occupy 37 per cent of the north of the island of Cyprus following its illegal invasion of 1974, and has defied countless UN resolutions to leave the island. In addition, also contrary to international law, Turkey has transported more than 120,000 Anatolian colonists to the north to change the demographic profile of the island.

Tassos Isaak was amongst the Greek Cypriot demonstrators protesting for “a world without borders” at the village of Dherynia which is situated next to the buffer zone, dividing the government controlled free south from the illegally occupied north of the island.

“As Turkey continues to defy the normal codes of behaviour demanded by the West, individual countries and courts will continue to cite Turkey for its unacceptable defiance,” said Nick Kounoupias.