Friday, July 1, 2016
Nikos Sampson (1935 –2001) was the de facto president of Cyprus who succeeded Archbishop Makarios, after a coup d'état, as President of Cyprus, in 1974. Sampson was a journalist and a member of EOKA, which rose against the British colonial administration, seeking Enosis (Union) of the island of Cyprus with Greece. He was eventually arrested, and sentenced to death, but was imprisoned in Britain after the sentence was commuted, returning after Cyprus gained independence.
Upon his return upon the formation of the Republic of Cyprus, he entered politics, becoming a Member of Parliament. Following the coup of 1974 by the Greek Junta, he was appointed President, and remained in the position for eight days. Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 20 July he resigned. He was later sentenced to twenty years in prison for abuse of power, the only person convicted vis-à-vis the coup, maintaining there had been a setup and cover up.
Three years into his sentence, he was allowed to go to France on medical grounds, and subsequently settled in France. He returned to Cyprus in 1990 to resume his sentence, and was pardoned for the remainder of his sentence in 1993. Following his release, he went into the newspaper publishing business. He died of cancer in 2001.