On this day in 1996, Solomos Solomou was shot dead

Solomos Solomou

Solomos Solomou

On August 14th 1996, Solomos Solomou, cousin of Tassos Isaac, was shot dead by a Turkish soldier while climbing a flagpole to remove the Turkish flag from its mast in the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus.

Following the funeral of Tassos Isaac, who was beaten to death by a Turkish mob in the UN buffer zone three days earlier, a group of unarmed Greek Cypriots re-entered the area where Isaac was murdered in order to demonstrate.

Among these demonstrators was Solomou, who climbed the flagpole to remove the Turkish flag from its mast, but was shot by the Turkish occupation forces in the face, neck, and stomach.

The video of the murder was recorded by journalists and aired on live television.

Solomou's funeral was held on the 16th August in Paralimni and was attended by thousands of people with an official day of mourning.

His family members described the horrible murder in their application to the European Court of Human Rights (Application No. 36832/97), which is as follows:

"Solomos Solomou crossed the barbed wire at the Turkish ceasefire line and entered the occupied territory. He was pursued by a British soldier from UNFICYP, who attempted to pull him back.

Solomou broke free from the British soldier and attempted to climb the pole where the Turkish flag was flying. He was unarmed, was not acting in a manner which could have been considered threatening, and was smoking a cigarette.

While he was approximately three meters up the pole, he was hit by five shots fired by at least three persons from the Turkish side, and was fatally injured. He died almost instantly. The Turkish forces then opened fire in an indiscriminate manner, wounding two members of UNFICYP, a civilian in the buffer zone and a civilian who was standing behind the Cypriot Government’s ceasefire line."

In 2008, the European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of violating Solomou’s right to life and for failing to conduct an effective investigation into the circumstances in which he was killed.

We remember and honour their memories.

*Source- Protothema