Last week the UK government reached an out-of-court settlement for £1 million for 33 elderly Eoka era claimants. They alleged they were tortured by British security services whilst held in custody during the Cyprus Emergency of 1955-1959.
All were arrested as terrorists by the British for their involvement with Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston (National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters) or Eoka.
The Greek Cypriots filed their legal claim in 2015 after Foreign Office documents revealed claims of abuse during the Eoka terror campaign. Justice Kerr of the Queen’s Bench Division ruled for the claimants: “A state stands to be held to account for acts of violence against its citizens, it should be held to account, in its own courts, by its own law.”
The sense of outrage at this settlement has united both British veterans of the 1955-1959 Emergency and Turkish Cypriots alike. While the claimants beamed for their group photograph outside the Royal Courts of Justice, they knew, as do the Turkish Cypriots and the British, that this one-sided legal decision overlooked the far more numerous murders and atrocities committed by Eoka back in the 1950s.
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