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A man who was thought to be dead has been told that he will remain legally dead, despite being alive and well.
Constantin Reliu was declared legally dead by his wife after disappearing from his home in Romania for 25 years, but resurfaced and was discovered to have been living in Turkey the entire time.
Despite him being definitively alive, the statute of limitations to appeal his death certificate has expired and as such, Mr Reliu is unable to overturn the decision to declare him dead.
The Romanian left his family to take up work in Turkey in 1992 and had no contact with his wife or family for any of the intervening 25 years. Assuming that he had passed away, his wife applied to have him declared as dead in 2016. She had previously wished to divorce him, but was unable to do so without him actually being there .
However, Mr Reliu, 63, was deported earlier this year after being found to have been living illegally in Turkey - having returned to his home in the city of Vaslui he walked back into his family's lives.
"I am officially dead, although I'm alive, I have no income and because I am listed dead, I can't do anything," said Mr Reliu to local news media in Romania.
His wish is to get a passport so that he can legally return to Turkey and resume his life, as well as tending to the businesses that he owns.
The Romanian courts are unwilling to allow him any documentation, however, because as far as they are concerned, he is dead. There was a period in which Mr Reliu may have appealed the court's decision to declare him dead, but as he was out of the country, he did not do so. He was unaware that he had been declared dead in his absence when he returned to Romania.
"The head of the border police in Otopeni [airport] called me to his office, turned on his computer and showed it to me: 'Look, Constantin Reliu [declared] dead by his wife," he continued to a local TV news channel.
There seems to be no legal precedent for a deceased person - legally speaking, at least - to come back to life. It is thought that he could get the decision annulled, provided that he applies at the same court in which he was declared dead.
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