Dr Katherine Alexander-Theodotou - Highgate Hill Solicitors
HUMAN RIGHTS IN A STATE OF PERPETUAL EMERGENCY
Dr Katherine Alexander-Theodotou is a Senior Solicitor & founder and Principal at Highgate Hill Solicitors, the Principal of K. Theodotou LLC, Nicosia, Cyprus and Founder / Chair of the European Legal Committee for Consumer Rights
Gamechangers Magazine speaks at length with the ACQ5 Global Award 2016 winner who went to great lengths to tell us about her continued fight for justice.
As a first-class human rights lawyer launching Highgate Hill Solicitors in 2003, can you tell us about your role and practice there?
The firm was set up in order to serve human rights in all spheres of life. Human rights ‘embraces’ a variety of different situations and upholds the principles of fairness and equality and justice for all the community. I dealt with instructions relating to a) immigration; b) the rights of elderly and lonely people; c) battered wives; d) disabled people almost abandoned; e) the rights of mothers not to be deprived of their children in divorce proceedings; f) the rights of people not to be dismissed unfairly. Generally, the rights of everyone not to be discriminated against.
Also, I dealt with human rights of people living abroad who became the victims of war and division, in particularly the Middle East and Cyprus. I spent considerable time in Iraq during the invasion and I struggled together with others to protect the rights of people against the invader and against the extremist. It was a time of the year that an involvement in that area was extremely risky and I received many warnings that I may not survive my campaign to protect human rights. There were a few incidents which could have risked me my life but I was not deterred from continuing my task in order to assist the people who were supressed and completely undermined.
We had been shot at twice, once after leaving a meeting at the Palestine hotel with other NGO teams as there was an exchange of fire between the American troops and rebels. I was walking through the square together with a German NGO when the fire started and we were right in the middle of it.
We both decided to walk naturally as we discovered from previous examples from others that if you run you become a target. A second example occurred when I stayed outside the Palestine hotel which was in the green triangle, so that I would be very close to the hospital where I volunteered to work. I was sent a message that I had to visit a certain house in order to see a wounded child. At the same time, I was doing some work for the Kurdish population, and I was given a Kurdish guard to be with me in case I was kidnapped and killed, the way it happened to other people. I therefore directed myself to that place and the Kurdish friend with a gun was following me. We soon discovered, on approaching the door, that this was a trap. As soon as they saw that I was with another person who was armed, two men started running away. It was obvious, a trap, as some of the extremist groups were prone to killing for publicity.
It was therefore with this background when I opened the firm of Highgate Hill Solicitors where I operated as an English solicitor. I am also a Cypriot Advocate and I was operating in Cyprus at the same time. I was fortunate to be able to work in Highgate and to assist the categories of people stated above. I disrupted on many occasions my work in order to travel to the Middle East being called to assist people who were arrested and beaten up, or, to look after wounded and abandoned children. I also campaigned to end the persecution of the Kurds and to assist in the establishment of a completely independent state, which is necessary, as the Kurds have been a persecuted nation for a considerable time now. I found out in the process of my work in Highgate, that although UK was not a war zone, in London there were a lot of cases in lack of human rights. There was a lot of prejudice against immigrant people and also lack of care for the elderly and vulnerable people. In the meantime, it was and still is my experience that a lawyer who is much more inclined to serve the humanitarian site of legal actions becomes also a victim himself or herself.
One has to deal with a Regulatory body which consists of people who never had my experiences and who could easily intervene in our tasks under their own regulations. This is one of the areas that to the present date I have not been able to overcome.
Therefore, my role as the founder of Highgate Hill Solicitors, and as the principle of this firm, was strongly based on the support on those in need, to protect their rights against all consequences, whether they are resident in the UK or abroad.
What does it mean to you to be awarded as “Human Rights Lawyer of the Year” by ACQ5?
I am grateful because this is the recognition of my work and a great deal of encouragement to continue the task to which I dedicated myself. I was also surprised because many people in the same position like myself and including myself, never receive any recognition for tasks which to the majority of the people are unusual and demand personal sacrifices. My task is continuing on the war front with visits to the Middle East and I am now organising a campaign in support of the Yazidi women. The Yazidi are an ethnic minority whose beliefs are different from the Sunni or Shias. The Muslim extremists have killed and tortured a large number of them but although there is condemnation for their acts against these people we have not yet seen a decisive policy by any organisation in order to offer them an official place in the Security Council or the activities of Unesco. Hundreds of Yazidi women are sold by the extremist and are continuously tortured and raped.
There are rumours that babies born from these women are sold at a minimum price in order to be equally violated and then killed. The women are always a victim when it comes to war and the military troops. The example of the Yazidi women shows that the barbarity has reached the extreme end and the international community must campaign to rescue these women and to take them out of that area to rehabilitate and turn them into human beings again. I have seen the same situation occurring in Cyprus during the Turkish invasion where hundreds of women were abused to such a degree that many of them attempted to commit suicide.
I am trying to organise a presentation at the European Parliament in order to press upon the European countries the obligation to rescue these women in any way that they can, together with their children. A second campaign that I am campaigning for years now, is the rights of the Kurdish community in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq. As a chair of the Euro Kurdistan committee I am advocating the liberation of all the regions and the establishment of the Kurdish state autonomous from any other nation in the area. Your distinction is helping me and encouraging me to continue my great fights.
Can you tell us a little more about your background, what motivated you to immerse yourself in law and how has this impacted your wok today?
I was born in Cyprus and by coincidence I was born at the village of Myrtou as my parents were there for a brief holiday. The village is now under Turkish occupation and the famous church and monastery of Saint Panteleimon (the Saint of blessings), which dates back to the ninth century AD has been completely destroyed and all the dedications in silver and gold have been stolen. The icons which are of great value, have been sold to private collectors in Europe and the area is used for a Turkish military camp of over 30,000 troops. I grew up knowing well the British presence and experiencing the effects of the revolution against the British rule. It is known to me that the Island was united together for a long time and there were not hostilities between the Turks and the Greeks. The island was divided by the colonial policy because the Cypriots wanted their independence and the British were not forthcoming. The constitution of Zurich which was given in the year of 1959 as being the constitution “of a free island” is a stigma in the history of humanity because it advocated the divisions and led to the separation and the Turkish invasion subsequently.
As a young person, I was very preoccupied with the issues of freedom and independence and like the rest of the young people who were aspiring to a free country away from any foreign rule and influence. I grew up in historically difficult times and the revolution against the British which led to the cruel death and hanging of many innocent people severely affected me.
The background, gave me the love for human rights and my hatred against the suppression of liberty and freedom. As a youth, I was a very good student and have been awarded several prizes at school and I distinguish myself as a painter in successfully participating in the commonwealth painting exhibition at that time.
As at that time, I was very curious to find out about the ancient world because Cyprus is one of the cradles of civilisation. I pursued my love for antiquity by studying classics and history in my first degree and then specialising myself in a PHD in the textual criticist of Papyrus. I completed my studies on classics with distinctions and I worked as a teacher in further education for a few years in this country and in Cyprus. My father was a Barrister specialising in criminal law and I was impressed with his cases which he told me were in protection of the rights of individuals. I was therefore inspired to read law which I did, with a special area in human rights and European law. I studied for a doctorate at Queen Mary Westfield College and I attended lectures in Brussels on European Law.
I became particularly involved with the rights of workers in this country, and I made a special study which was given to the Ministry Trade and Industry relating to 82 clothes factories which were as close as possible to slave shops of work. People were working long hours without breaks in unsuitable accommodations, being paid minimum money and with no protection. They were also engaging a number of women who worked from their own houses and when the factory was closing the women were left without any payment and no compensation of any kind. I discovered that these women were working over 20 hours a day in order to gain a small amount of money. These women were of immigrant background. Also at the same time I discovered that a large number of distinguished and wealthy firms were having their garments produced in countries where child labour was used. This happens today as well. I felt that my legal qualifications may assist these people. Similarly, I did a lot of voluntary work for old people’s homes and I discovered how badly elderly people are treated with no respect and with no intention to better their position and to respect their experience and intelligence. I had old people telling me that they don’t want to be called “darling” or “dear” because they have names and their names should be used to call them. Again, I discovered that the law is not strong enough for the elderly or the vulnerable. Human Rights help to improve the society but today the government is struggling to abolish it by attacking the Human Rights Act. As a lawyer, I also became very critical of the professional bodies whose actions may be characterised as out of touch and by some, as discriminatory and racist. That is the reason why I have been campaigning for a humanitarian approach by the regulators.
The law has impacted on my work enormously as I stated above, but also in leading new cases which have to do with the purchase of off plan properties by a large number of British people who believed with their own thought or have been brainwashed by others that by investing in foreign property they would be able to make enormous profits for themselves. On the contrary they lost a lot of money to the point on bankruptcy and they came to me to assist. Almost about 1000 people in desperate situations came for our advice, and I enthusiastically turned myself to the task although I also knew that they contributed to their downfall. I am proud to say that I have resolved all the cases but at the same time I became the victim of discrimination for which I will speak later.
How does your education and life’s work support and encourage the activism of human rights?
My education is a humanitarian education especially the studies of classics, ancient history and philosophy. The Greek philosophers of the antiquity always ask the question ‘what is man’? Poetry and literature of the ancient work always raise the question of ones’ rights in the community and in the family. The Greek philosophy, through Socrates, advocated the knowledge of yourself. The knowledge of one’s self involves the position of man amongst other human beings in a wider society. Aristotle says “a human being is a social animal” the issues of inequality and fairness have always been presented in the Greek Tragedies. The history of the ancient word is a continuous debate about justice and injustice. There are scenes of horror, of conquest and cruelty over those conquered. The conquered react by a strong feeling of repulsion to inequality hence you get revolutions in order to better the position of people in the society. We reach the days of Alexander the Great where an 18-year-old king nurtured by the philosopher Aristotle goes through the whole of Asia and gives the freedom to the subject people of the Persian Empire and others.
Later Christianity raises the issue of human rights advocating the abolition of slavery. Christ is crucified as a rebel and subsequently Christians are executed, burned or thrown to lions because they want to bring equality as they are children of ‘one God’. Our life in its entirety consists of a continuous struggle to liberate ourselves from bad conditions to better conditions. The background of my education has assisted me and nurtured me in the principle that every individual should live free and with dignity.
It is on account of my background that I strongly believe in protecting the rights of every individual to live free and to be respected and protected by the society and laws.
What lead to the launch of your Justice for Lawyers campaign? Why were you interested in this issue?
I have always been questioning authoritarian bodies which are not elected as abusing their powers and being discriminatory. The legal body is a strong body and obviously it has to be regulated but the regulations must be reasonable and they must assist the lawyer to expand their work in order to offer more services to the community as a whole. The firms in London especially of solicitors are divided between the ‘privileged’ firms which consist of hundreds of partners and they’re rich and powerful and they can withhold the interventions from the regulatory body.
Interventions occur on matters of conduct, which include topics such as whether you have given a retainer and what type of retainer, also whether the retainer complied with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The other matter relates to charging the client and this involves that if the client complains that he has been overcharged then the regulatory body intervenes and asks for explanations. A large number of these complaints occur after the Bill of Costs has been given to the various clients. Some of these complaints may be real but a lot of these complaints are intentionally fabricated to prevent a client to pay their fees. The big firms have a Practice Department consisting of 20-50 lawyers who deal with such complaints. During the process of the investigation, the litigation department or any other department which has been the subject of the complaint, can work uninterruptedly. This is the privilege of the big firms.
The smaller firms, in particularly the ethnic minority sole trading firms like myself are not able to sustain this continuous ‘intervention’ of the professional body known as SRA or the Legal Ombudsman. The smaller firms have to spend a minimum of 6 months of continuous correspondence, answering innumerable letters, which flow uninterruptedly from the regulatory bodies without any consideration as to the ability of the firm to spend considerable time in answering the question and trying to cope with the workload. There are many cases which reach the court relating to actions by the regulatory bodies against a solicitor’s firm.
A number of these cases have been thrown out because they were completely wrong. The victim is normally the firm, the sole trader, and any employees of that firm. It is in one of these situations that an elected body from the firms would have been more knowledgeable of the needs of each firm and would have been more competent in managing complaints fairly and justly. There are a number of employees of the regulatory bodies who are not lawyers themselves or if they are lawyers they have not worked in any firm or had their own firm to understand the burden on the firms when the investigation begins.
Recently at the conference in Prague which was called by the small practices, there was a general outcry by the small firms that the regulatory body have to change their tactics because they would not be able to continue their business with a long-term investigation preventing the firm from undertaking new business or continuing the existing business. The ethnic minority firms receive the largest number of complaints against them, not because they are all incompetent but because they are an easy victim to attack.
The regulator receiving a complaint by a client, ‘a) that their case has been delayed intentionally’; ‘b) that they have been overcharged; ‘c) that they have not been informed regularly’; ‘d) that they have not been given a retainer’; ‘e) that they have complained to the firm but the firm did not reply’. The regulatory body will immediately form the suspicion that this ‘foreign lawyer’ is not capable of understand how an English solicitor works or to understand the regulations of the English professional bodies.
The investigation begins investigating the accounts, investigating time sheets and anything that they can think of. The material is given to the complainant to read and to produce their answers. This material is not given to be seen by the firm. The complainant could produce evidence which is completely false but the solicitor would have no access to this evidence. The regulatory body may visit the firm and they would try to intimidate the solicitor into confessing that they are in the wrong.
I was told once by an ethnic minority mature solicitor that the best policy when the SRA or the Ombudsman sends you a complaint is to admit it and to subject yourself to payments of compensation. This process has been going on for a lengthy period of time.
At the meeting in Prague we raised questions with the officials from the SRA and the Ombudsman but none of the questions were directly answered.
I have not been one of the organisers for the Prague seminar but a large number of us feel, that the seminar ought to have been organised in London where a larger number of representatives of small firms could have attended.
In any event I must relate my own story as this story is what one tells ‘THE STORY OF THE STORIES’.
In 2010, I was approached by a number of 6 people who had bought off plan properties in Cyprus and who borrowed money from a local bank putting a minimum deposit from themselves. The properties were sold through English agents mostly and they believed the agents propaganda, that they would make a big profit out of the purchase. I never dealt with such cases before but I decided to assist them as some of them were absolutely desperate and pocket less. Following various meetings, a fixed fee was agreed. This fee collected by Highgate Hill Solicitors went entirely to pay the Barristers and the receipt of the money and payments are all accurately evidenced. As the cases progressed in time we were able to gradually win to get them out of their problems and forcing the Banks to come into negotiations with us.
In the meantime, we had won a very big battle in 2012 for the Jurisdiction of one big case which involved over 500 clients. This attracted the attention of other firms of medium size who thought we are probably making millions of pounds in profit. In fact, this was not the case because till the present date I have not been paid for my lengthy and tedious tasks.
One of these firms misled clients into believing that they should not negotiate an agreement with the Bank but that they should continue the action at the court in order to obtain enormous compensation. This firm was telling clients what they wanted to hear namely that they were overcharged and that the solicitor was betraying them to the Bank and that they should engage in litigation instead of negotiating with the Banks. Some people were very greedy and they believed that they should not negotiate but that they should continue fighting at the courts although they had no money for the costs.
The QC’s on the case advised them that it is not likely that the court will give them what they want and they would be on the safe side to negotiate as the cost would be enormous. In fact, they did not listen and believed the propaganda produced by the other firm. A number of people left to join the other firm and from there on they tried to organise a massive attack against myself. The attack was the following:
1. They falsely accused me to the SRA that I had abused clients’ money;
2. The propagandist encouraged certain members to go and visit members of the House of Commons, that is their constituency MP and to ask the MP to write to the SRA for an official investigation into the abuse of money and breaching the rules of conduct. The propagandist of the other firm is not even a lawyer but a lay person. Obviously, he was producing all this propaganda in order to obtain 500 clients for his own the employers benefit;
3. We received a letter by the SRA that we are going to be visited by an investigator but no clear information on the reasons for the visit;
4. The investigator came with another person and the first question they asked was my name and whether I am a solicitor. We gave him evidence and also the committee of the group also spoke to him. He then came a second time. In the meantime I was seriously engaged with 200 writs issued against this group by the Bank and others on this case in Cyprus. As I stated earlier I am also a fully qualified Cypriot Advocate and I have a firm in Nicosia which is still fighting the writs of some cases. At the same time we were negotiating with the Bank intensely as the majority of the 520 clients wanted to negotiate. This was a very difficult and important time in the history of litigation. We received a letter from the SRA requesting me to surrender all the case files for the investigation ignoring the fact that there was continuous litigation in Cyprus and intense negotiations with the Bank who were considering of abandoning the litigation against the clients for a compromise;
5. I offered to give them copies of the files as I needed the files for the cases. I also needed considerable time to produce copies from 2000 files. Following a warning letter, they took an action against me to surrender the files and on the 18th December 2015 I was at the High Court in London explaining that I need the files to fight the case of my clients. Luckily the court understood the problem and a consent was signed to give the files after selection within a reasonable time in order to assist me to continue the cases;
6. The investigators again came back to the court asking for an enormous amount of money for their cost, I had to go in February 2016 another time to avoid paying enormous costs. In the meantime, we had no money of any kind for continuing the cases, and this can be verified by the accountants Kingston Smith. The decision was to close down the firm laying unemployed also 10 other people, losing the cases in Cyprus, discontinuing the negotiations with the Bank and leading to disaster 420 people. This was a great dilemma and I had to make a decision as the investigations prevented any client paying money to the firm. I therefore decided not to close down the firm but to fund the action from my own savings and borrowing money from my family. The cost of running the firm to date is paid by me and to date I have no salary and no reimbursement apart from continuously paying money to the firm.
I was running the following cases:
Stephen William Aston v A. Chacolis Developers and others
1. Case 1 - This case includes 50 people again purchasing off plan properties. I negotiated successfully after defeating the other side in Cyprus that my clients are not liable to pay any loans for the purchase for these completed properties apart from a relatively small amount of money and to walk away. We must bear in mind that the minimum loan for each person is 400,000 euros;
2. Case 2 – I won against several developers, nearly 70 contracts are rescinded. Unfortunately, we have now a complaint that after the rescission of the client’s contracts which was worth nearly 400,000 euros, the client refuses to pay the fee and to avoid paying it they put a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman against us. The usual continuous flow of correspondence of lies and the usual number of replies with documents proving that the client is lying and that they don’t want to pay the fees after I won the case for them. We must also note that all these cases are Cypriot cases mainly under the jurisdiction of Cyprus because the limitation period depends on the Cyprus limitation period. The enforcement of this action and the recognition is a matter of Cyprus. Probably and legally speaking here, the Ombudsman has no place in a case under the Cyprus Jurisdiction.
3. We have 6 other actions and are now settled by negotiation to the satisfaction of our clients. This is again the result of our performance in Cyprus. I must also emphasise that the cost in Cyprus have not been paid by any of the clients. This involves a total of over 700 clients. It is admitted by pronounced and distinguished lawyers in London that ‘no other lawyer has managed to resolve successfully such a number of cases without any damage caused to the client. Most importantly, the solicitor without being paid and using her own money to pay for the cases’.
The investigation of the SRA is still continuing. It is a matter of Human Rights and there has never been a similar situation before. Historically, this is a precedent. I therefore request that this is publicised as a case on Human Rights as I intend to apply to the court of human rights in Strasbourg. A warning has been given to the regulatory body. The situation of the minority firms is very unpredictable. Their existence and welfare depends on the issue of being given protection by the SRA and the Legal Ombudsman in investigating properly and reasonably any complaints.
The Justice for Lawyers was set up, mainly in order to assist victims such as me to fight against injustice and prejudice. We are campaigning for a democratic elected regulatory body which is annually elected from amongst the members. We also request that there should be a Legal Ombudsman to investigate and scrutinise the investigations against solicitors and to listen to the solicitor’s story in order to give a balanced and fair opinion.
Justice for Lawyers is applying to various European bodies for their support.
Can you tell us more about the justice system for Lawyers and its principles?
As regards this country I have not seen any development in the system for Lawyers, we are advocating that in order to bring justice to the Lawyers there should be an elected committee from amongst the members to investigate complaints of any kind. This committee must listen to the lawyers as well as to the complainant, in person producing their evidence and judging independently and unbiasedly.
In your opinion, what are the most crucial developments that you have seen in human rights since your work during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus?
I have seen a lot of cases and examples since my work in the Turkish invasion. I have particularly been involved and studied the recent situation in the Middle East as from 2003 onwards. I have seen the treatment of immigrants in Great Britain and in Europe. I have seen the effects of Brexit, the assassination of an MP and the attacks on several foreigners in England.
I have not seen any serious development which would strengthen and enforce the principle of human rights. Human rights must be supported by every government, every institution and by strong laws, which must be introduced on a national and international basis in order to uphold the rules of human rights.
Democratic countries are trading and are in relation with countries known for the suppression of human rights and execution of people who are considered to be enemies of their regime. As in the example of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, china and various other small nations such as Qatar. It seems that financial interests are much higher than human rights.
One questions the rules which govern the approach to human rights by the countries trading with the violators of human rights. I have not seen any pressure bodies or larger groups demonstrating against the abuse that happens to victims such as those in the Middle East, to prisoners, to the system of executions in the United States and the death penalties which exist today in the so called civilised countries.
In Cyprus over 2000 people are missing since 1974, who were taken as hostages from the Turkish army and there is no indication whether these people are alive, prisoners or dead. Similar situations exist in other parts of the world.
Each country member of the international community must raise their voice and co-operate closely to bring strong international rules to protect the entire universe from the abuse of human rights. This is a necessity otherwise there is not going to be a successful outcome.
What are your most recent highlights from your campaigns and work at Highgate Hill Solicitors?
As stated above Highgate Hill Solicitors in London and my firm in Nicosia, Alexandrou Theodotou LLC have managed to resolve 700 cases which have value of 300 million euros’ minimum for the benefit of over 700 people. This was done with great sacrifice and being at the same time victimised by false accusations and by the SRA exhibiting all their might empower against me. As regards my activities in the Middle East I have been able to campaign for the establishment of refugees in Greece and Cyprus, I have been able to campaign for the freedom of Kurdish people and now I am campaigning for the victims of war, and for a large number of Yazidi women.
I would like to invite all the women organisations all over the world to stand up and raise their voice in support of these victims of barbarity and to join hands together to prevent a similar situation occurring.
I will personally visit the places where these women’s camps can be found. I am only a very small voice but I believe that my voice must be heard and be joined by others for the sake of justice, truth and equality.
Since launching in 2003, what have been your greatest achievements?
One of my greatest achievements was my active participation in Iraq during the invasion by the ‘allies’. I was present and actively participated in the march of parents in Baghdad to prevent the Americans using the yards of schools for stationing their tanks and armed vehicles and preventing the children to use the school yard for their games. The kids needed the school yard because the roads in Baghdad were full of victims and debris. The children had nowhere else to go but the school yard.
I joined the committee of the parents and we marched towards the head office of the allied forces. We knew that this was dangerous and that we could be fired upon. In fact, this happened and a number of people were seriously wounded. I was lucky not to be one of them.
I felt proud of my work that I managed to have the courage to support the Iraqis who were protesting for a very humanitarian cause. I considered it to be a highlight in my campaign. Following that occasion I was received by many Iraqis in their houses and considered to be a ‘sister’ of theirs.
Therefore, to me this was a great success and a highlight to offer my services and my life for the principle of justice and truth.
In your career, what kind of hardships have you faced during these acts and requests?
If you are engaged in these kinds of activities, you are expecting that you would undertake a great deal of hardships and risks to your life. As stated above I was shot twice but I was very lucky not to be hit. Secondly there was a kidnapping attempt and again I was lucky to escape and was supported by a Kurdish friend.
Thirdly, in the demonstration of the parents I felt the bullets thrown above me but in any event I kept holding my placard in the Arabic language stating “leave our schools alone.”
In another incident, I was trying to get one of the Kurdish leaders Mr Qatar Aziz to travel from Baghdad to Brussels to speak to the European Parliament regarding the hardships of the Kurdish people. In Baghdad, the German airline refused to allow him to be a passenger. We had to sleep on the floor of the airport until early morning to travel to Paris on a French airline prior to travelling to Strasbourg.
Our luggage was lost and we arrived in Paris with no extra clothes or money. There are numerous other examples of hardships and ill health on account of hardships. Also, we must not forget my hardships on account of unreasonable investigations by the SRA.
In your opinion, what is the key to succeeding as a human rights lawyer?
The most important thing is dedication, personal sacrifice and the belief in what you are doing.
And finally, we’d love to know what the future holds for you.
What are your current areas of interest in human rights and where do you see your career venturing?
As stated above I am campaigning for the liberation and protection of the Yazidi women. I have the support of many other women in Syria and Iraq. I am also campaigning for the establishment of Kurdistan as an independent state I am trying to have the support of European countries. I am campaigning for the release of all the political prisoners in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. Also, the abolishment of death penalties in America and other parts of the world. I have been campaigning since 1974 until the present date for the reunification of my island and for the rights of its people to live together. As stated earlier I am a small voice but try to get others to join me. I am personally satisfied that a number of my actions have been noted and other people are supporting me and my actions.
About Me "Katherine Alexander-Theodotou"
A lawyer whose life and work revolves around the dignity of the individual and the suppression of injustice.
Activities in the past:
1. In 1974 as a young woman she was the first to cross the no-mans-land line during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The invasion resulted in the displacement of 200,000 people, who fled from their own homes in terror pursued by the Turkish invading forces and became refugees. A large number of children were left behind in the panic and confusion of the invasion. Katherine dared to face being shot and crossed over the no-mans-land danger zone to meet the Turkish senior military officer and persuade him to release 600 children who had been left behind in the confusion and hell of the invasion.
2. The same daring approach for the benefit of humanity was repeated in Iraq in 2003 during the invasion. She travelled from London on her own to Jordan and from Jordan in a car driven by an ex-officer of the Iraqi army, who had been tortured by Saddam Hussein, to reach Iraq at the time of the invasion and to volunteer in this horror to assist the sick and wounded in the Al Qadisiya Hospital in Baghdad. She helped also to raise the issue of human rights by investigating missing persons in Iraq. These people were taken as prisoners in Kuwait and other places by extremist and most of them were executed.
3. She organised seminars in the European Parliament supporting the rights of migrants and refugees and demanded that all clandestine refugees be given the “right to remain” in the country where they are presently residing.
4. She is a campaigner for animal rights and she has helped in the rescue and security of thousands of abandoned animals.
5. She founded the Anglo-Hellenic and Cypriot Law Association, the representative organisation of Greek, Cypriot and English lawyers. She is now campaigning for the free circulation of lawyers within the European Union (and EEA) and the uniform organisation of regulatory bodies throughout Europe.
She is chair of Justice for Lawyers, which aims to assist lawyers to improve their professional standing and to have a common regulatory regime throughout Europe.
6. She worked closely with the homeless and the elderly and she does free work for those who are without means to protect themselves, namely elderly women and children.
In her legal work, she deals with some of the most complicated legal actions, which are bilateral, i.e. between two or three countries. These complicated cases require strategy and hard work.
She achieved the following landmark:
1. The jurisdiction on the enormous lands of Mr Panareti the developer.
2. She is a lawyer with a strategy. Her strategy won many cases.
3. One great innovation that she has adopted as regards care is this. The client works with her. She lets the client participate in defending herself.
She is a writer and one of the best Classical researchers. She is presently writing a legal dictionary of Athens of the 4th century BC.
She participated in televised debates such as the Greek election and the Troika.
She is also the chair of the European Legal Committee for Consumer Rights, which is against loans in Swiss francs and risky currencies. The Committee represents around 14 European countries. The committee provides support for the consumer and helps individuals to release themselves of burdensome loans.
She founded a school/college for cultural activities and the promotion of ethnic minority cultures. Also, she acts free of charge for complaints on discrimination as regards education. She has assisted many ethnic minority parents and students.
Links to video films relating to some of the activities
Swiss Franc Loans Conference in Athens 2015 - K. Alexander introduction to the conference
Dr. Katherine Alexander-Theodotou a ciprusi konferencia után
Swiss Franc Loans Conference in Cyprus - Dr. K. Alexander
Swiss Franc Loans Conference in Cyprus, 4th day in Paphos
Greek and Cypriot Cultural Centre at Language Live Show 2015
Visit: Highgate Hill Solicitors