Athens furious at UK arrest

Athens expressed deep indignation yesterday at the British government’s failure to inform it of the arrest, on unspecified terrorism-related charges, of a Greek student in the UK 11 days ago. «We consider unacceptable the fact that we have not been notified by the United Kingdom, and specifically by the UK ambassador in Athens who mentioned nothing when he visited Deputy Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis [on Tuesday],» government spokesman Christos Protopappas said. «The Greek government will make an official demarche.» Haralambos Dousemetzis, 25, a former student at Northumbria University in northern England was arrested in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on February 25 and charged with two offenses under Section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000 – which carry a maximum 10-year sentence. He is accused of possessing articles which could be used to instigate, prepare or commission acts of terrorism. On Tuesday, an English court rejected a plea for Dousemetzis, who has lived in England for the past eight years, to be released on bail. He will appear in court again next Tuesday. Protopappas said Athens had no idea of the precise nature of the charges. Reports say Dousemetzis has allegedly praised the November 17 group in an Internet chatroom and possessed literature concerning the extreme left-wing group. Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said Athens was «really annoyed» about the incident, which the ministry learned about on the BBC website, and drew an analogy with London’s response to the arrest, on espionage charges, in 2001, of 12 British airplane enthusiasts. «When the UK authorities moved heaven and earth in the case of the planespotters… we demand the same regarding Greek citizens held on British soil.»

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