The court decision against the British couple of David and Linda Orams, concerning the property of Greek Cypriot refugee Meletis Apostolides in the northern, Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, is still valid, Apostolides’ lawyer Constantis Candounas told CNA.

Candounas was asked to comment on the landmark case “Apostolides v. Orams”, following reports in the Turkish Cypriot press indicating that the British couple sold the house it had build on Apostolides’ property to the illegal regime in the Turksih-occupied part of Cyprus for 160,000 pounds. The lawyer noted with interest that the British couple was able to retain possession of the property until recently. It is up to Apostolides to explore his options concerning various legal paths, Candounas concluded.

Speaking to CNA, Apostolides interpreted this development as a move to encourage potential real estate buyers in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus. He also said that he has not decided yet if there is room for any new legal measures against the Orams.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

In 2004 the Nicosia District Court ordered the Orams to demolish the house that was erected on the property of Apostolides in the Turkish-occupied village of Lapithos, grant free possession of the land and pay Apostolides damages. The Greek Cypriot refugee sought to enforce the decision in a British court, as the Cypriot court judgement was not directly enforceable in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

After the UK’s High Court of Justice ruled in favour of the Orams, Apostolides turned to the Court of Appeal, which referred the case to the European Court of Justice. The ECJ ruled in favour of Apostolides, noting that Cyprus judgments can be registered and enforced in the UK as well as in any other EU member state against assets of the defendants in that state.

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