On November 12, 1958, Prodromos Xenophontos, only 17-years-old, was tortured to death by British investigators at Zefyros Detention Center in the Kyrenia province. Xenophontos was born in 1941 in Agridaki, a village in the Kyrenia province of Cyprus, now located in the Turkish-occupied part of the island.

During the last five years of British rule in Cyprus, an insurgency was sparked by by the Greek Cypriot resistance group, the EOKA, the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (Εθνική Οργάνωσις Κυπρίων Αγωνιστών). British forces repeatedly tried to quell the four-year rebellion, known as the Cyprus Emergency.

At the age of 16, Xenophontos took the oath of allegiance to the EOKA in August 1957. His initial missions involved handing out leaflets, speaking on the megaphone, and monitoring various movements, mainly those of soldiers.He founded patriotic unions in his village, drawing special attention from Kyriakos Matsis, the head of the region.

When his older brother Zacharias, the supplier of Matsis’s guerrilla groups in Kyparissovouno, was arrested, Prodromos took over the supply. On November 7, 1958, he transported food to the guerrillas with a competitor.The English had information about his mission and evidence when they discovered the traces of his shoes near the tree where they found the food and arrested him. Xenophontos underwent exhaustive interrogation, and his refusal to reveal anything was met with horrific torture leading to his death.

Xenophontos died four days into the interrogation; his skull broke when the ‘iron wreath,’ a commonly used torture implement by the British forces, was tightened around his head. This caused blood to discharge from his ears and eye sockets, and his skull fractured. His fingernails were also all pulled out. Today, the name of the seventeen-year-old resistance fighter is used to denote one of the National Guard camps in Limassol.

In 2019, the British Government compensated 33 elderly Greek Cypriots following claims that British forces tortured them in the 1950s. The claimants, like Xenophontos, were all young during the Cyprus Emergency between 1955 and 1959. They alleged that British soldiers stubbed cigarettes out on their bottoms, simulated executions, and used the metal contraption, the ‘iron wreath,’ causing their eyes to bleed and their skulls to fracture.”