[UPDATE] After Greece’s refusal to extradite, Turkey issues arrest warrants for 8 soldiers

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Turkish officers are escorted by Greek special police forces as they leave the Greek Supreme Court in Athens, after a hearing concerning a possible extradition of the officers over July's failed coup in Turkey, on January 23, 2017 in Athens. AFP PHOTO / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS

Hours after the Greek Supreme Court handed down its verdict on an extradition request for eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after a failed coup in Turkey on July 15 and denied their return, Turkey on Thursday issued arrest warrants for the fugitive soldiers in their absence on coup charges.

The court cited the lack of ability to get a fair trial in Turkey as justification for denying the request for the extradition of the soldiers. Turkish news channels portrayed the decision as a negative development.

The soldiers are expected to be released in Greece soon as they officially seek asylum there.

On Dec. 8, a Greek appeals court had overturned a decision to extradite the last two of eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece in the aftermath of the failed coup on July 15.

On Dec. 6, another Greek court had ruled to extradite three soldiers who were allegedly involved in the coup attempt.

The court ruled that the three pilots should be returned to Turkey to stand trial for three of the four crimes they are accused of, but not for attempting to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, lawyer Stavroula Tomara told Reuters.

The pilots had appealed the ruling at the country’s top court, she added.

The soldiers reportedly said they would be subject to the death penalty in Turkey if they were extradited since President Erdoğan has been planning to reinstate capital punishment.

The soldiers deny any part in the putsch as alleged by Turkey.

 

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