The European Association of Judges (EAJ) has expressed its firm support for Greek judges who ruled against a request from Ankara for the extradition of eight Turkish military officers who fled to Greece last summer following a failed coup in the neighboring country.
“Any attempt to undermine the independence of the Greek judiciary but undue criticism should be avoided and rejected,” the association said in a statement issued at a meeting in Chisinau, Moldova, on May 19.
“The EAJ supports the Greek judiciary to firmly remain independent in protecting human rights despite pressures and threats expressed regardless of what source they are coming from,” the statement added.
The association’s intervention came after Ankara issued a second extradition request following the rejection by Greece’s Supreme Court of its first demand.
Explaining its decision in January, the court highlighted the possibility of the officers’ rights “being violated or compromised regardless of the degree of guilt or the gravity of the crimes they are accused of.”
Greek judicial authorities remain concerned that the Turkish officers would not face a fair trial if returned to Turkey, where authorities conducted a massive purge of the civil service following the thwarted coup, and might be submitted to torture.