Test land case opens in Cyprus

LARNACA (AP) – A Larnaca district court on Tuesday began the test case of a Greek-Cypriot refugee suing a Turkish Cypriot for turning his home in the island’s Turkish-occupied north into a restaurant. But the hearing faced legal complications from the start and was adjourned until tomorrow. Hussein Caginer is accused of converting the home of Panos Ioannides, a refugee from Famagusta, into a restaurant. Ioannides, a prominent businessman and president of the Association of Greek-Cypriot Refugees, is seeking damages of 250,000 Cyprus pounds (432,000 euros) and a court order «to stop any further illegal intervention on his land.» The case is seen as a major legal test that could affect thousands of people on both sides of the island. After Cyprus’s EU entry last May, there has been a flood of court cases against Europeans occupying Greek properties. The hearing was adjourned when Caginer’s lawyer argued the Cyprus Constitution required cases that involved members of both communities to be heard by a court consisting of both a Greek- and a Turkish-Cypriot judge.