A Romanian man would remain stupefied for a long time after being told by a court that he is a dead citizen before the law.
Constantin Reliu, 63, recently appeared before a court in eastern Romanian town of Barlad seeking to overturn a death certificate obtained by his wife after he travelled to Turkey and lost contact with his family.
The certificate was obtained in 2003, four years after Mr. Reliu’s wife last heard from him.
The court told him he can no longer challenge the death certificate because he had been barred by the statute of limitation, according to the UK Guardian which cited Romanian media.
“I am officially dead, although I’m alive,” The Guardian translated Mr. Reliu as telling reporters . “I have no income and because I am listed dead, I can’t do anything.”
The paper said Mr. Reliu left Romania in 1992 to seek economic opportunities in Turkey. He was last home in 1999, but ceased further communication with his family.
After waiting years without hearing from her husband, Mr. Reliu’s wife applied for his death certificate from Romanian authorities.
The daily Adevarul reported in local language that Mr. Reliu’s wife told the court that since she didn’t hear from her husband for years, she assumed he had died in an earthquake in Turkey.
The paper added that Mr. Reliu accused his estranged wife of obtaining the death certificate in order to annul their marriage and marry someone else.
Mr. Reliu discovered his ‘death status’ when he was deported from Turkey in January 2017 because his residence documents had expired.
He planned to renew his passport in Romania and return to Turkey, but Romanian immigration declined to issue him new travel documents because he had been considered dead since 2003.
He wanted to return to Turkey where he has established a small business, but this may not happen anytime soon with his unique legal challenge that has prevented him from obtaining a new passport.
Romanian media quoted a spokesperson for the court as confirming that Mr. Reliu lost the case because he did not appeal against his death certificate on time.
Multiple media reports in Romania indicated that the ruling was final and Mr. Reliu might be considered a legally-dead man for decades before his actual death.