British pair win Cyprus land row

A British couple yesterday won a legal battle to keep a holiday home they have built in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, on land originally belonging to a Greek-Cypriot. Last year, a Nicosia court ordered David and Linda Orams to demolish their villa and return the land to its dispossessed owner Meletios Apostolidis, who fled northern Cyprus after the Turkish invasion of 1974. But a High Court judge in Britain yesterday backed the couple’s appeal against the previous judgment. Judge Rupert Jack ordered Apostolidis to pay three-quarters of the Oram’s legal costs, the exact amount of which was not clear yesterday. But the lawyer for Apostolidis – who filed his claim on the land in Lapithos in October 2004 – said that his client would appeal the decision, adding that he was «very optimistic the end result will be positive.» The Orams – whose case attracted international attention due to its potential legal ramifications and their high-profile lawyer, Cherie Booth, wife of Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair – called the judgment a «total vindication» of their position.