Romanian court tells 63-yr-old man he's dead; no appeal
17 March 2018
In a situation that would appear straight out of a Kafka novel, a Romanian court has ruled that a 63-year-old man is dead despite what should to be clinching evidence to the contrary: the man himself appearing alive and well in court.
The court rejected Constantin Reliu’s claim that he is alive, after he was officially registered as dead.
Constantin Reliu asked the court in the town of Barlad to overturn a death certificate obtained by his wife after he had spent more than a decade in Turkey, during which time he was out of contact with his family. The court told him he was too late, and would have to remain officially deceased. The ruling is final.
“I am officially dead, although I’m alive,” a bemused Reliu told local media outlets. “I have no income and because I am listed dead, I can’t do anything.”
Reliu left Romania for Turkey in 1992, apparently to seek employment. He last returned to the country in 1999, but appears to have cut off all contact with his family. After years of silence from her estranged husband, Reliu’s wife obtained a backdated death certificate for him in 2016.
Turkish authorities located Reliu this year with expired papers and deported him. When he arrived in Romania, he discovered that he had been declared dead.
The Romanian daily Adevarul said Reliu’s wife had argued in court that having heard nothing from her husband since 1999, she had assumed he had died in an earthquake while in Turkey. The paper said Reliu believes she sought the death certificate in order to annul the marriage and allow her to remarry.
He may never have found out about his death in his homeland had he not been apprehended by Turkish authorities earlier this year and deported. Reliu had planned to renew his passport in Romania and return to Turkey, but on arrival, he was detained by immigration officers who informed him he had died in 2003.
Reliu said he wants to return to Turkey and has set up a small company there, but is now faced with a confusing legal battle to regain his identity and obtain a passport.
He was quoted as saying, “I am officially dead, though I’m alive, I have no income and because I am listed dead, I can’t do anything.”
A spokeswoman for the court explained to local news outlets that Reliu had been too late with his appeal against the death certificate and had thus lost the case. The ruling is apparently final and cannot be appealed against, leaving Reliu in legal limbo.