Grave Robbers Steal Body of Cyprus President

Grave robbers have stolen the remains of Tassos Papadopoulos, the former president of the Republic of Cyprus. Papadopoulos, who died a year ago, was buried at the Deftera cemetery on the outskirts of Nicosia, the capital. Authorities discovered the corpse was missing on Friday morning.

A witness at the graveyard said the coffin had been opened and was empty. Family members and scores of police were at the scene, reports

Saturday is the first anniversary of the death of Papadopoulos, who was Cyprus' president from 2003 to 2008.

"The grave of the former president has been violated and the body robbed," said police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos.

Kypros Chrysostomides , who served as justice minister under Papadopoulos, also expressed outrage.

"I totally condemn, with all my soul, this barbarous act of sacrilege," he said. "I cannot understand why somebody would want to do such a thing. ... Such barbarous acts only do damage to Cyprus."

Papadopoulos, a hardline president who ushered the ethnically divided island into the European Union after rallying Greek Cypriots to reject a United Nations-brokered peace deal, died a year ago on Saturday from lung cancer at age 74.

He served as president from 2003 until March 2008, when he lost the presidential election to current President Demetris Christofias, Associated Press reports.

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