By A. Makris
The European Court of Human Rights fined Greece 54,000 euros for failing to carry out an adequate and effective investigation into the death of Costas Tsalikidis, a networks designer and director of technology at telecom company Vodafone, who was found hanging in his apartment in 2005, a day before a phone tapping scandal broke out.
Tsalikidis was found on March 9, 2005, a day before the Greek government was informed that many of its members, including then Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, had their mobile phones wiretapped.
His death was investigated by Greek authorities twice. The first investigation between 2005 and 2006, found that the cause of death was hanging with a noose.
The supplementary investigation – requested by the family and held with the help of foreign experts between 2012 and 2014 upheld the first investigation’s conclusions, but two of the three coroners who examined the exhumed remains found several inconsistencies – a lack of injuries normally associated with hanging, and contradictions in the rope mark on the deceased neck – and concluded that the cause of death remained unclarified.
Tsalikidis brother and parents did not believe their relative committed suicide, and applied for a ruling to the European Court of Human Rights, which found there had been a violation of Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
The European Court was scathing in its criticism of the Greek prosecutors, saying that the Greek authorities had not addressed any of the inconsistencies.
Indeed, it was not even clear on what grounds the public prosecutor had based his decision not to prosecute or to order further investigative measures, as his decision to close the investigation had contained no reasoning, it said.
It also said that as the prosecutor in the initial investigation had mentioned that the death was causally linked to the wiretapping case, it had been all the more important to take every measure necessary to investigate Costas Tsalikidis death.
Following the publication of the Courts ruling, Greek Appeals Court Chief Prosecutor Antonis Liogas requested the case file, to assign it anew to an appeals investigating prosecutor.