Reliu moved to Turkey in 1992 where he found work as a chef, but his family reportedly did not hear from him after his last visit back to Romania in 1999. Hearing no news from him in the intervening years, his estranged wife sought to have him declared dead and managed to procure a death certificate for him in 2016.
Having been found with expired documents by Turkish authorities in January 2018, Reliu was deported back to Romania only to find out that he was legally dead. “The customs authorities questioned me more than six hours before they realized it was not a hoax,” Reliu reportedly said of his ‘welcome’ home.
“I am officially dead, although I’m alive, I have no income and because I am listed dead, I can’t do anything,” he added, as cited by the AP. Reliu claims that he tried to contact his wife and their 39-year-old daughter a number of times but neither wanted to communicate with him.
After his failed court action, magistrates explained that under Romanian law his appeal was made too late – almost two years after his death was certified – and as a result cannot be considered by the court.
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