A minimum of 14 Cypriots have been tortured then murdered via UK forces all over an armed rebellion within the overdue 1950s, in keeping with newly unearthed proof that raises recent questions over every other stunning bankruptcy of Britain’s colonial historical past.
Testimony from British veterans and Cypriot revolt warring parties, along side postmortem and morgue data, in addition to in the past undisclosed subject matter from Cypriot archives, counsel that the sufferers died after being interrogated via UK officials. The useless, all males elderly between 17 and 37, have been arrested on suspicion of being a part of the Nationwide Organisation of Cypriot Combatants, a paramilitary organisation referred to as EOKA, which orchestrated a guerrilla marketing campaign to overthrow British keep an eye on in Cyprus.
Pictures from the Cyprus Nationwide Archives corroborate indicators of torture on their our bodies. In some instances, the photographs seem to turn mutilation of the genitals.
A witness to some of the deaths stated: “I noticed the warriors pulling Nicos [Georgiou] out of his mobile, virtually subconscious, with foam popping out of his mouth. He used to be making an terrible sound like a lion growling as he lay loss of life. They let him die at the cement out of doors.”
Even supposing claims that the British army used torture all over their profession of Cyprus have circulated for years, it’s the first time that UK forces, together with its intelligence products and services, are accused of a marketing campaign of extrajudicial killings all over the 1955 to 1959 rebellion.
In 2019, the United Kingdom executive paid £1m damages to 33 Cypriots who alleged they have been tortured via British forces. Amongst them used to be a lady, 16 years outdated on the time, who stated she used to be time and again raped via squaddies.
Even supposing the federal government insisted the payout used to be now not “any admission of legal responsibility”, the recent main points will sharpen scrutiny over the actual extent of atrocities dedicated all over the marketing campaign to finish British colonial rule at the Mediterranean island.
The brand new claims function in a guide, 14 Crimes of Empire, printed in Greek, which investigates the cases at the back of the deaths of the 14 males.
Elina Stamatiou, the Cypriot creator who spent 3 years investigating the deaths, stated the United Kingdom executive had to recognize its function of their destiny.
“Justice will have to be served. I additionally assume that an authentic apology to the households of those sufferers could be essential, although it comes 65 years later. The households’ wounds are nonetheless open,” she stated.
In what used to be referred to as the Cyprus emergency, EOKA introduced an insurgency towards British government who insisted that the island will have to “by no means have self-determination”.
According to the rebellion, Cyprus used to be flooded with hundreds of British squaddies in an in the end futile try to overwhelm the island’s hopes of independence. Some 371 British squaddies died, when put next with round 90 EOKA warring parties.
Amongst them used to be Georgios Christoforou, 18, who used to be arrested within the town of Paphos in 1958. Fellow detainees witnessed him being escorted right into a British interrogation room and rising along with his “face lined with blood and he may now not stroll”. One recalled “moaning and noises” coming from the room and later heard Christoforou screaming.
Any other witness testified that he heard ’s interrogator say: “If you don’t let us know the reality, we will kill you.”
Pictures of Christoforou within the morgue display his face bloodied and disfigured. Medical paperwork display that he died from interior accidents on 22 November “while in custody from accidents because of a blow or fall or another type of violence however there is not any proof to turn when, the place, how and in what way he gained the wounds which led to his loss of life”.
One of the crucial youngest of the 14 males allegedly killed in detention via the British used to be 17-year-old Lucas Louka, an EOKA member who died within the town of Famagusta in 1958 after what seems to be a brutal beating from an English army police officer.
Pictures from the morgue point out indicators of baton moves on his again, with the deadly blow at the left facet of his head. A pal of Louka’s stated he noticed him being “assaulted” via a British army captain. Any other noticed attacked “with a heavy rod” via the similar officer. The good friend added: “He began beating the deceased all over, at the head, frame. I noticed Louka mendacity at the mattress and the captain beating him.”
Veteran EOKA fighter Michalakis Moustakas described how Nicos Georgiou, 37, who used to be arrested within the village of Platres, died in detention. Held in a mobile subsequent to Georgiou, Moustakas stated they have been compelled to sleep bare on cement, have been fed urine, time and again overwhelmed and dragged via their genitals.
The witness, now 86, stated he watched Georgiou being dragged out of his mobile with foam coming from his mouth. “Each and every evening once I cross to mattress, I will nonetheless pay attention his growling sound whilst loss of life,” stated Moustakas.
Pictures taken within the morgue display Georgiou’s frame lined with bruises along side head accidents.
British veterans who served in Cyprus have additionally presented accounts that contradict the United Kingdom’s authentic model. A senior officer wrote an account of the loss of life of EOKA member Spyros Hadjiyiacoumi. The overdue primary Michael Stourton tried to lift his issues over the torture of the 27-year-old father of 4 at a British interrogation centre within the the city of Kythrea. His efforts to flag the problem have been quashed via Ministry of Defence censors who erased the bankruptcy from the authentic historical past of the Grenadier Guards.
Two different EOKA participants who have been tortured in the similar hut as Hadjiyiakoumi however survived informed how British interrogators positioned a steel bucket on their heads and struck it, and stabbed their toes with a bayonet. The coroner’s record from the time claimed the wounds “have been led to all over an unsuccessful try to get away from lawful custody”.
Any other British veteran additionally presented key proof into the loss of life of every other of the 14 – Andreas Panayiotou, a 31-year-old EOKA member who died in a Platres lodge requisitioned via the British military. Brian Robertson, 85, who served in Platres with the Gordon Highlanders from October 1955 to December 1956, stated that a good friend referred to as Kevin Taylor, who served within the army clinical inspection room, informed him that a detainee had died after being tied up in a freezing water fountain all evening.
Robertson, from Aberdeen, stated the manager physician used to be it appears horrified and refused to signal the loss of life certificates, forcing the officials concerned to summon every other physician from the Cypriot capital, Nicosia. “They needed to get every other outdated military physician to signal the loss of life certificates. I’m sure the British did have interaction in using torture,” Robertson stated.
Two of the our bodies of the 14 males recognized via Stamatiou are nonetheless lacking and are believed to be secretly buried. British accounts state that each males controlled to flee from detention, although neither has been noticed since.
Considered one of them – 27-year-old Nicolaos Yiangou – used to be closing noticed being pushed away in a black Morris minor automotive after being interrogated via British secret products and services, police and squaddies.
The British army continues to perform two bases in Cyprus, one with regards to the town of Limassol and one in Dhekhelia.
The Overseas Administrative center referred its present place to a 2019 commentary from then Overseas Administrative center minister Alan Duncan which stated that the “passage of time signifies that it’s now not conceivable to determine all the information with simple task.” It added:
“The United Kingdom executive recognizes the strongly held perspectives of many Cypriots in regards to the emergency” and stated that the violence used to be a “subject of remorseful about.”