Greenjet From Ireland, joined Aug 2001, 1025 posts, RR: 1 Posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1989 times:
From the BBC:
The 12 British plane-spotters held in Greece are to be freed on bail to face reduced charges at a later date, their Greek lawyer has said.
The lawyer - who was sitting in a hearing with the judges considering the case - told the BBC the courts were asking for bail of £5m drachmas, about £9,000, for each defendant.
If supplied the Britons can go back to the UK but will have to return to Greece at a later date to face a trial on a lesser misdemeanour charge of illegal information collection, which carries a five-year sentence.
The group had been facing a felony charge of spying, which carries a 20-year sentence.
The same conditions also apply for the two Dutch plane-spotters arrested with the group.
The group's lawyer, Yannis Zacharias, said: "We are very pleased as this was our objective all the way through."
But Stephen Warren, the son of one of the accused Lesley Coppin, branded the decision "disgusting" and said there was little hope of raising the bail money in time for their release before Christmas.
Ron Arnold, the father of Graham Arnold, told the BBC that he hoped the government would help the families to raise the bail money.
Maria Kennedy, the sister of Antoni Adamiak, said: "I am just desperate to get him home. I just want to know now what I need to do practically and what I need to do about this money.
"I won't really believe it until he is back and I can see him."
Labour East MEP Richard Howitt, who has been campaigning on behalf of the group, said he did regard the decision as a victory.
"I have no doubt that when it comes to trial the case will collapse - although technically this misdemeanour allegation could carry a five-year jail sentence if proved.
"It does worry me that asking each family to find £10,000 for bail is a lot. We are now just hoping that these people will be back home as soon as possible."
Mr Zacharias said he was not sure when the accused would be released because it depended on when bail was paid.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in a statement: "Like everyone else, I was greatly relieved to hear this news but we will now have to work hard to ensure that this judicial decision does mean the speedy release from custody of all those being held."
The group were arrested on 8 November in the Greek town of Kalamata at after attending an airshow.
The state prosecutor had recommended in a 30-page report to the judges that they should be tried.
The 12 British people in custody are Paul Coppin, 45 and Lesley Coppin, 51, of Mildenhall, Suffolk; Peter Norris, 52, of Uxbridge, west London; Antoni Adamiak, 37, of London; Andrew Jenkins, 32, of York; Wayne Groves, 38, of Tamworth; Michael Bussell, 47, of Swanland, near Hull; Michael Keane, 57, of Dartford, Kent; Steven Rush, 38, from Caterham, Surrey; Christopher Wilson, 46, who lives close to Gatwick Airport; Graham Arnold, 38, from Ottershaw, Surrey; and Gary Fagan, 28, from Kegworth, Leicestershire.
The two Dutchmen being held are Patrick Dirksen, 27, from Eindhoven, and Frank Mink, 28, from Den Helder.
Planespotterx From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1957 times:
yes, looks like a early XMAS present for STPSIG today SAVE THE PLANE SPOTTERS IN GREECE thanks to the people who didnt vote for them, i got 3000 other votes anyway, many thanks to those who did sign my petition.
KONSTANTINOS From Greece, joined Jun 2001, 389 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1930 times:
Ceilidh wrote:"These people knew that what they were doing was illegal; a number of them (and in particular Paul Coppin) had been arrested on numerous occasions."
Spies or no spies they broke the law. One law that you get panished for in many countries and in some you even get shot. Why cant Greece have a few laws as well ? She has many but most of them are broken and nothing is done. Things here in Greece are infact so free that one can do what ever he or she pleases. Infact what we need in Greece are stronger and harsher laws and actions.
Ceilidh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1915 times:
Delboy - I suspect that the Daily Mail and/or Stelios will probably come up with it.
I wonder how many Greeks we have languishing in British prisons? Why aren't the Greek papers making as much fuss about them? Could it be that they are, in fact, more civilised than the Brits are and fully understand the rule of law?
AndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 1089 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (14 years 2 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1900 times:
And now for afters... Every enthusiast in the UK who listens to an air band receiver, whether on VHF or UHF, is technically breaking the law. Lets have the authorities arrest and try everyone they catch with a radio. OK, not a custodial sentence, but a fine and gear confiscated for each and every one none the less.
Come on guys, there's laws and there's common sense. This is the real world, not a fantasy world where spies openly parade around air bases in Greece, or listen to air band radios.