Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tassos Papadopoulos's body stolen: state ransom claim; family denial

When I saw the (e.g. Reuter's and BBC) headlines suggesting that former Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos's body had been stolen to ransom it back to the family, I was surprised; then I read that it was a state claim, countered by a family denial, and I was utterly unsurprised.

[10.45pm, 10th March 2010 update: the crime has been solved: Tassos Papadopoulos's body was stolen for ransom.]

First, Greek Cypriot Justice Minister Loucas Louca stated,
that Papadopoulos' family had received a demand for ransom, but that no money had been paid....

"The conclusion is that ransom was behind the theft and there was no political motive," Louca told reporters, adding that the family had contacted police (cited by Associated Press (AP, 2010)).
Then, two family spokespersons insisted that 'the family had received no such demand' (paraphrased by AP, 2010).

The Agence France-Presse (AFP, 2010) reported family spokesperson Chrysis Pantelides' 'angry' response:
The Papadopoulos family did not, and I reiterate did not, receive any kind of demand for a ransom.... We should all at this moment in time be acting responsibly, especially all those in authority.
Former government spokesperson, Papadopoulos family friend Vassilis Palmas bluntly warned that '[o]fficials must be very careful when they open their mouths.... The minister said something that is unfounded' (AP, 2010).

Remarkably, Louca replied that, '[a]s minister of justice and public order, I'm obliged to tell the truth. All that I stated previously completely reflects the truth and the facts' (AP, 2010).

Reuter's (2010) reported Louca's explanation that 'Police had realized early on that the theft of the body was for ransom.... There was no political motive'. The police 'realized' that despite the family having explicitly and repeatedly denied any ransom demand having been made. That may explain the complete lack of progress in the police investigation.

Since the family have been so very insistent that there was no ransom, it seems that there was indeed a political motive; and that makes the official insistence - upon the opposite - troubling. The exclusion of ransom as a motive, and the official insistence upon untruth, seem to affirm my (2009) and others' suspicions of nationalist extremists' responsibility.

AFP (Agence France-Presse). 2010: "Stoush over ransom as stolen body of Cyprus's ex-president found". Sydney Morning Herald, 10th March. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/world/stoush-over-ransom-as-stolen-body-of-cypruss-expresident-found-20100310-pw9y.html [A "stoush" is a(n anagram of) "shout", an argument.]

AP (Associated Press). 2010: "Missing body of Cyprus' ex-leader found". The New York Times, 9th March. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/03/09/world/AP-EU-Cyprus-Body-Snatching.html?_r=1

BBC. 2010: "'Ransom' motive for theft of Cyprus ex-leader's body". BBC News, 9th March. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8557540.stm

Hardy, S A. 2009: "Tassos Papadopoulos's grave-robbery: false flag operation?" Human Rights Archaeology [weblog], 14th December. Available at: http://human-rights-archaeology.blogspot.com/2009/12/tassos-papadopouloss-grave-robbery.html

Reuter's. 2010: "Ex-president's body stolen for ransom, Cyprus says". Reuter's, 9th March. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6283JG20100309

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