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Greece rejects Ankara’s third extradition request for 8 Turkish soldiers

With an unanimous decision, the Appeal Council in Athens rejected the extradition of the 8 Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece a day after the failed coup in July 2016. It was the third extradition request Turkey had submitted to Greek authorities.

the judges in the Appeals Council accepted the prosecutor’s recommendation to reject the extradition request.

The prosecutor argued that the 8 Turkish soldiers would not stand a fair trial in Turkey and they were at serious risk to being exposed to torture. “The situation in Turkey has not charged,” the prosecutor stressed with reference to the Turkish purge against everyone the Erdogan regime considers as enemy.

“There is no new evidence from the data presented in the new request indicating that they will have a fair trial and that the situation in Turkey has changed,” the prosecutor said.

With regards to the new offenses included in the third request, the prosecutor pointed out that the file does not describe the role of the defendants, the time and place of the offense is not specified. “There is no change in the data on which the [former] decision of the Supreme Court was based and therefore the request for their extradition must be rejected.” the prosecutor said.

At the beginning of the proceedings, the Vice-President of the Human Rights Association, Giannis Ioannidis, and author, Apostolos Doxiades, had testified as witnesses.

A day prior to the council decision, Turkish authorities had released a video showing some of the 8 Turkish soldiers holding guns in a military camp, the day after the failed coup. The video did not add any proof that the 8 were involved in the coup as Ankara claims.

The video released 20 months after the failed coup was not included in the third extradition request.

The soldiers have applied for political asylum form the very beginning and remain in custody.

The soldiers’ lawyer said that their release is imminent as they have been in custody for 18 months.

The Council decision comes at times where relations between Athens and Ankara are at a crucial point due to the detention of two Greek soldiers who accidentally entered Turkey on March 1st. The two are in custody in the high security prison of Edirne, North-West Turkey, awaiting for the prosecutor to complete the case file.

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