Hanging linked to phone tapping revisited after EU ruling

Hanging linked to phone tapping revisited after EU ruling

An appeals court prosecutor in Athens has asked to see the case file concerning the death of a telecoms engineer in 2005 shortly before the outbreak of a scandal involving the wiretapping of Greece’s political leadership, to ascertain whether it needs to be reopened. 

The decision to revisit the case came after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) deemed on Thursday that Greece had failed to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of former Vodafone employee Costas Tsalikidis, 38, who was found hanged in his apartment. 

The investigating prosecutor at the time, Ioannis Diotis, had ruled out foul play, concluding that Tsalikidis had committed suicided.

Unconvinced by the conclusion of Greek judicial authorities and armed with new evidence that emerged in 2012 that contradicted some of the findings of the original autopsy report and police investigation, the family resorted to the ECHR in November 2014, claiming that Greek authorities had not sufficiently investigated the case.

In its ruling on Thursday, the Strasbourg-based court said that Greek authorities had “failed to carry out an adequate and effective investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Tsalikidis” and ordered Greece to pay his family 50,000 euros in damages. 

Tsalikidis’s death occurred the day after the spyware planted in Vodafone’s network was removed and the day before the company told the prime minister at the time, Costas Karamanlis, that he, members of his cabinet and dozens of state officials had been wiretapped through its network. 

The ECHR said that the prosecutor at the time had archived the case “concluding that – even though the death was causally linked with the wiretapping affair – there was no indication of any criminal act having been committed against Mr Tsalikidis.” 

The spyware diverted phone conversations made by Vodafone’s subscribers to 14 “shadow” pay-as-you-go mobile phones, allowing calls to be monitored.

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