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Greek supreme court hears Turkish officers’ extradition case

One of the eight Turkish military officers who fled to Greece in July after the failed coup in Turkey (C) arrives at the Athens Supreme court which begun ruling on their possible extradition, on January 10, 2017 in Athens © AFP

Athens, Greece, Jan 10 – Greece’s supreme court on Tuesday opened a final appeal hearing for two Turkish officers fighting extradition to their homeland over July’s failed coup.

The hearing comes after an appeals court last month ruled against extraditing the officers at Ankara’s request.

They were among eight Turkish military officers who arrived in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis on the same helicopter in July, the day after a botched coup.

A judgement is due on January 23, according to a judicial source, but any final decision will rest with Greece’s justice minister.

The supreme court’s prosecutor Vassiliki Theodorou believes the two officers would not receive a fair trial if returned to Turkey, the source added.

Defences lawyers released a video of the recent arrest of several judges in Turkey to support their case.

The two officers claim that members of their families in Turkey have been sacked from their jobs and had their passports confiscated.

Three more officers will appear before the Supreme Court on Wednesday and the final three on Friday.

Originally, an Athens court had accepted Turkey’s extradition request for six of the eight officers, all of whom appealed, while accepting that two others’ lives would be in danger if sent back to Turkey.

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But the public prosecutor appealed and now all eight will have their cases heard by the supreme court.

They deny having taken part in the putsch and claim their lives are in danger.

Their applications for asylum in July were rejected but appeals are currently being processed.

Since the coup, many Turkish military officers have requested asylum in other NATO countries.

Authorities in Turkey have arrested thousands of people since July with many thousands more having been sacked, in particular journalists, teachers and police officers.

This case is awkward for Greece, which is working with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants through its territory towards western Europe.

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