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Greek prosecutor argues against Turkish officers' extradition

© AFP/File | A tank drives on streets in Ankara, Turkey as people protest against military coup, which eight Turkish military officers in Greece said they did not take part in, on July 16, 2016


A Greek supreme court prosecutor on Wednesday argued against extraditing two Turkish officers over July's failed coup, in the second of three such hearings this week.

Prosecutor Haralambos Vourliotis said the officers "came (to Greece) as supplicants. I do not allow myself and Greek judges to extradite them," a judicial source said.

There was applause in the courtroom as Vourliotis made his case, the source added.

The case involves eight Turkish military officers who arrived in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis on the same helicopter in July, a day after a botched coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The supreme court opened the hearings on Tuesday after an appeals court last month gave contradictory rulings on the case.

In three separate hearings under different judges, the appeals court elected to protect five of the officers but ordered the other three to be sent back.

After Tuesday's and Wednesday's hearings, the supreme court is scheduled to examine the last four officers on Friday.

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

Prosecutors on Tuesday and Wednesday said the officers would not receive a fair trial if returned to Turkey, the source added.

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

On Tuesday, two of the officers said that members of their families have been sacked from their jobs and had their passports confiscated.

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.

© 2017 AFP