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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

War Chest

The RoC government estimates as many as 10,000 foreigners living in Greek Cypriot property in the North. The Turks are obviously selling off occupied land to citizens from Western Europe in an attempt to prevent Greek Cypriots from returning to their properties. Greek Cypriot refugees like Mr. Apostolides continue to claim their title deeds through legal means, because of this...thousands of EU citizens, mostly Britons, this year formed a UK-registered lobby group to defend the rights of foreigners living in properties formerly owned by Greek Cypriots. This lobby group has built a huge war chest that is currently being used in the Orams trial. An assault on this war chest should be made immediately by opening up new lawsuits against foreigners who are citizens of an EU member State other than Britain and who have purchased property in the North that is in dispute. Speaking of the Orams, new developments today...please read below for more details.

British court to hear Orams case
Meanwhile criticism mounts over Cherie Blair’s involvement in the case

By Philippos Stylianou

As Greek Cypriot reaction to the involvement of the British Prime Minister’s wife Cherie Blair in the controversial Orams case widens, the High Court in London is today expected to hear the positions of the two sides and decide how to proceed.

Turkish Cypriot UK solicitor Hassan Vahit, who appears for Linda Orams, said Cherie Blair had made a significant contribution in drafting Mrs Orams’ appeal. He noted that he expected the trial to open towards either the end of January or the beginning of February 2006.

Constantis Kandounas, the Nicosia lawyer of Greek Cypriot refugee Meletis Apostolides who won a Nicosia District Court decision against the Oramses, said they were waiting to hear what the Attorneys of the other side had to say in the British Supreme Court.

He did not rule out that Cherie Blair acting for the Orams would ask for a postponement until an appeal by Linda Orams in the Supreme Court of Cyprus was heard. A date for the hearing of the Cyprus appeal has yet to be set.

The Cyprus court ordered Linda Orams and her husband David to demolish a luxury villa they built on land they had bought from a Turkish Cypriot in the occupied part of Cyprus and which belonged to Meletis Apostolides.

British assets

In the light of being unable to enforce the decision in the occupied areas, Apostolides asked the decision to be enforced in the British Courts against the Orams’ British assets under an EU arrangement.

The British High Court will not dwell on the merits of the case but on matters of procedure and public interest.

Asked to comment on the retaining of Cherie Blair from the Matrix Chambers to represent the Orams in the case, Candounas simply said: “We are delighted.”

His client Meletis Apostolides has retained the services of Blackstone Chambers, one of the most prestigious of the UK, with Thomas Beazley QC leading a team of other lawyers and solicitors. They include Simon Congdon of the Holmans Fenwick Willan Solicitors and another QC from Brickstone Chambers.

“We regard the issue as a strictly legal one and we shall fight along the lines of an impartial and objective process,” Apostolides himself said when asked about having the British Prime Minister’s wife against him.

Cherie Blair nee Booth spoke out on Wednesday for the first time in the face of mounting criticism for undertaking the defence of the Oramses.

Autonomous

Repeating what the British High Commissioner in Nicosia had already said, she told the daily ‘Simerini’ that her capacity as wife of the British Prime Minister had nothing to do with it. “I am an autonomous lawyer and follow the rules of my profession,” she said.

Mrs Blair added that the Orams had bought the property in good faith and now they risked losing that property and their property in the UK without any compensation.

Commenting on Cherie Blair’s statement, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday that he did not think the rights of the Orams weighed more heavily than the rights of the Greek Cypriot refugees.

He added that all these matters would be raised with the British government in the context of the dialogue established when President Papadopoulos met Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.

The British Charge d’ Afaires in Cyprus Robert Fenn Peter was summoned to the Foreign Office to hear a complaint from Permanent Secretary Sotos zakhaios about Mrs Blair involvement in the Orams case.

Although President Papadopoulos and Foreign Minister George Iacovou expressed their strong displeasure at the development, they both stated their trust in the impartiality of British justice.

Cypriot reactions to Cherie Blair embracing the cause of Britons who bought stolen Greek property in the occupied areas against official British policy was given wide coverage by the British press.

The National Federation of UK Cypriots said the Cypriot community was upset, bitter and disappointed at the action of Mrs Blair to support before the court of justice those who violated the human rights of Greek Cypriot refugees and international laws and principles.

They called on her to reconsider supporting the usurpers of other people’s property.

Poltical parties and organisations issued statements condemning Cherie Blair’s action.

Brian Coleman, London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden has criticised Cherie Blair’s decision to defend the Orams. In an announcement he said:
“I am appalled that Cherie Blair has chosen to defend Mr and Mrs Orams. People who buy illegally acquired properties are making the situation in Cyprus far worse for those dispossessed by the Turkish invasion. I hope this case will serve as a warning to others that buying illegally acquired properties will not be tolerated.”

Cyprus Weekly, December 2005

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