Body of former Cyprus president stolen from grave; memorial still on

The body of former Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos was dug up and stolen from his grave sometime between Thursday, December 10 and Friday, December 11. His outraged family still continued with the memorial for the first year anniversary of his death held last Saturday, December 12.Tassos-Papadopoulos

The body was taken out of the cemetery outside the capital of Nicosia during a dark night, through a thunderstorm and a power cut. The dug up earth and the empty coffin was left behind.

“Those who committed this folly have achieved nothing. Tassos has not disappeared. He is still with us . . . Let the axe come down hard on those fools,” Archbishop Chrysostomos II, head of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, said during the memorial service.

Cypriot President Demetris Christofias called for the people to stay calm from Belgium where he was attending a EU Summit. He did however said his condemnation, “I am appealing to the public to remain calm in the light of this provocation. I cannot describe this act any other way. This s is a sacrilege. It is an immoral and condemnable act which is a blight to our culture and respect for our dead.”

Christofias defeated Papadopoulos during the elections last year giving the former president only a single five-year term that started in 2003. He died last year from lung cancer.

He is most famous for leading the Greek Cypriots in rejecting a United Nations reunification plan for the island in 2004 with the Turkish Cypriots.