PM urged to pro­tect Turk­ish of­fi­cers

Ver­hof­s­tadt adds to calls for coup-linked ex­tra­di­tion re­quest to be turned down

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The pres­sure on the govern­ment to refuse to ex­tra­dite the eight Turk­ish sol­diers wanted by Ankara for al­leged par­tic­i­pa­tion in last July’s failed coup grew yes­ter­day as the head of the Al­liance of Lib­er­als and Democrats (ALDE) in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, Guy Ver­hof­s­tadt, added his voice to those call­ing for the mil­i­tary of­fi­cers to re­main in Greece.

“I would like to stress the vi­tal im­por­tance of fun­da­men­tal prin- ciples that form the le­gal or­der we share across the Euro­pean Union – and which oblige all EU mem­ber states not to ex­tra­dite any­one, in­de­pen­dent from his guilt, to a state where he or she would risk fac­ing tor­ture or any other in­hu­man or de­grad­ing treat­ment,” wrote the Bel­gian MEP in a let­ter to Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras, which he made pub­lic on ALDE’s web­site.

“I sin­cerely hope that Greek au- thor­i­ties will be guided by th­ese prin­ci­ples when de­cid­ing about the fate of the eight Turk­ish of­fi­cers,” added Ver­hof­s­tadt.

The liberal politi­cian’s let­ter comes in the wake of a cam­paign by a group of in­tel­lec­tu­als, jour­nal­ists and politi­cians in Greece for the Turk­ish ex­tra­di­tion re­quest to be re­jected, even though this could cause diplo­matic com­pli­ca­tions. “Th­ese is­sues should be solved by the courts, with­out po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion,” said one of the group’s fig­ure­heads, math­e­ma­ti­cian Apos­to­los Dox­i­adis.

The Supreme Court is to hear the of­fi­cers’ case in ses­sions to­day, Wed­nes­day and on Fri­day. In De­cem­ber, in three sep­a­rate ses­sions with dif­fer­ent judges, a lower court re­jected the ex­tra­di­tion re­quest for five of the sol­diers but ap­proved it for three.

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