Greece rejects extradition of three coup plotter soldiers to Turkey
REUTERS photoA Greek court on Dec. 5 ruled against the extradition of three Turkish soldiers out of eight who fled to the country one day after the failed July 15 coup attempt, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
The three soldiers will not be extradited on the grounds that their lives are under jeopardy, according to the court ruling.
The hearing for the remaining five soldiers will be held on Dec. 6.
Commenting on the court decision, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık said Ankara expected Athens to make all necessary efforts to extradite all Gülen members accused of orchestrating the failed coup attempt.
Meanwhile, speaking to Reuters, the lawyer of the soldiers Stavroula Tomara described the court decision as “objective.”
“I am very pleased with the ruling, they shouldn’t be extradited. The court was objective,” Tomara said.
The first hearing of the eight soldiers regarding their potential extradition was held on Nov. 28, as the first three denied charges that they were involved in the attempted takeover and said their lives would be at risk if they returned to Turkey.
The soldiers, including two majors, flew their jets to Greece’s Alexandroupolis on July 16, prompting the Greek authorities to begin legal and diplomatic processes on charges of illegal entry into the country.
As the soldiers applied for asylum, Turkey demanded their immediate extradition on suspicion of involvement in the coup attempt.
In late July, a local Greek court sentenced the eight soldiers to two-month suspended prison terms for illegally entering the country.
Greece’s political asylum commission, meanwhile, rejected the asylum application of seven of the soldiers, leaving just one more soldier to be reviewed for the process.
After a Greek court rejected their asylum application, the soldiers appealed the decision and the appeal process is expected to end by March 2017.