Reliu Constantin has not been home in Romania since he left for Turkey last 1999. His family had been trying to locate him in Turkey to no avail. He was completely out of contact with his family to the point that a death certificate legally declared him dead last 2016.
He was unaware of his ‘dead’ status until Turkish authorities discovered him living illegally for almost 2 decades and deported him back to Romania. Upon arriving in Bucharest, he got held for over 6 hours of questioning because someone dead in the records shouldn’t be traveling ‘alive’ in the first place!
Well, the records should be easy to fix, right? After all, being alive is the easiest evidence to prove you are not dead. WRONG!
A court in Romania rejected his claim to be alive after deciding that the original ruling to declare him dead cannot be overturned. Much worse, the legal time limit to appeal is over so it is no longer an option.
Now Reliu is just a ‘dead man walking’. His strange case gained enough media attention and a lawyer already offered to help him. Technically, the court rejection of his bid to be alive was just a procedural issue.
He was a victim of a poor legal advice. According to Catalin Alexandru of the Bucharest law firm PeliFilip, “The court didn’t rule on the merits of the claim but rather on procedural grounds.” He added the Reliu can simply file an annulment claim which does not have a deadline.
Even if Reliu managed to get out of this mess, he is still unsure on what to do next. He was told that he could no longer get back to Turkey but he is still clinging to hope.
“I want to be buried in Turkey,” he said. “My life is there.”