Panayiotis Kafkaris, the island nation’s longest-serving convict has been released.
The 72-year-old, who had killed a man along with his two children, was released post the parole board’s approval of his repeated appeal requests.
Kafkaris has served 31 years after being given three life sentences in 1987 in Limassol. The man he had murdered was businessman Panicos Michael, 45, who had two children aged 11 and 13 by placing a bomb under Michael’s vehicle, which killed all the three upon detonation. According to Kafkaris’ trial testimony, he was paid CYP £10,000 (€17,000) to carry out the killings.
Kafkaris has been known to have fought his imprisonment using several legal means early on during his incarceration, which included recourse to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). That was stalled when the Nicosia Criminal Court re-interpreted life imprisonment as the end of the biological life of a convict – as opposed to 20 years.
Kafkaris has previously sought to be released on parole in 2012, which was rejected. He re-appealed in February 2015 when the Supreme Court cancelled the parole board’s ruling on grounds of improper examination.
The parole board later rejected the request once again after its re-examination. After another appeal by Kafkaris, the Supreme court cancelled the parole board’s decision on the same grounds.
Kafkaris sought a third review on April 3, 2017, for which he did not get any reply. He then went on to submit another request seeking permission to apply for a preferential order. This was denied by the Supreme Court.
In July 2015, Kafkaris wrote to the ombudsman as well as the ECHR, requesting them to put him to death if they do not intent to re-examine his request for parole.