In a surprise reversal of their earlier decision, Greek justices on Tuesday decided to accept Turkey’s request for the extradition of a group of Turkish army officers that fled to Greece after a failed coup against the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his government.
After deciding against extradition for the first group of three Turkish officers, whose cases were considered on Monday, the Appeals Justices’ Council on Tuesday decided to accept the Turkish authorities’ extradition request for the second group of three officers, so they might stand trial on three of the four charges they face in Turkey.
The appeals justices agreed to the extradition of the three officers on charges of attempting to flout the constitution, abolish Parliament and for taking a helicopter through use of force. They rejected extradition on a charge of attempted murder against the Turkish president.
Meanwhile, an appeal against the decision refusing the extradition of the first group of three was lodged by the head of the appeals prosecutors’ department on Tuesday. Following the appeal, their case will be considered again before the Supreme Court. Under the law, the Supreme Court must issue an irrevocable ruling concerning the fate of the three officers facing extradition within eight days.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the public prosecutor in charge of the case again recommended that the justices refuse extradition, saying that the three officers will “almost certainly be subjected to torture and humiliating treatment” if they are handed over to Turkish authorities. She cited similar treatment in the cases of other members of the Turkish military now being held in Turkey, including some that were killed.
She also criticized the evidence in the file sent by Turkish authorities to request extradition, noting that this was vague “and more like a journalist’s description than a legal document.”
The three officers denied taking part in the coup and said they would not be given a fair trial if returned to Turkey. They noted that their families had been persecuted after the coup, including being dismissed from their jobs and denied access to their bank accounts.
The three were among a group of eight Turkish military officers that commandeered a Turkish helicopter and sought refuge in Greece on the morning after the July 15 coup.
Still pending is a hearing to consider the extradition of the last two of the eight officers, scheduled to take place before the Appeals Justices’ Council on Thursday.