Thieves Steal Body of Former President of Cyprus

Cyprus said Tuesday ransom was the motive of thieves who stole the body of former President Tassos Papadopoulos, found in a shallow grave Monday three months after it disappeared from its tomb.

The remains, stolen last December, were found in another person's grave after police received a tip-off and DNA tests identified it as that of the former leader, Reuters informs.

According to The Associated Press, Minister Loucas Louca said Tuesday that Tassos Papadopoulos' family had received a demand for ransom for the return of the body, which was stolen from its grave on Nicosia's southern outskirts in December. He did not say when the demand was made, but said no ransom was paid.

Police were also examining a phone box in the area, believed to be the one used to notify the authorities. Police scoured the cemetery for clues while family members and close aides visited the scene.

Papadopoulos’ daughter Anastasia, his son Nicolas and wife Yiota and stepson Constantinos were seen leaving the cemetery visibly distraught. Television stations interrupted regular programming to announce the news and show footage of the developments outside the cemetery.

Justice Ministry Permanent Secretary Andis Tryfonides said he hoped the body belonged to Papadopoulos. "This will put an end to the unspeakable agony Papadopoulos’ family is going through," Tryfonides said, Cyprus Mail reports.

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