Times to be sued over deal claim

Judges and defense lawyers involved in a spying trial of British and Dutch plane-spotters last year have sued The Times of London for libel for an article that «harmed» their honor. The three judges and four lawyers are seeking 5.9 million euros ($6.6 million) in damages, according to a copy of the action obtained by The Associated Press yesterday. At the trial, an appeals court in the southern Greek city of Kalamata overturned espionage-related convictions for the 11 British and two Dutch who had observed warplanes at several Greek bases. The hobby of plane-spotting is little known in Greece. The lawsuit cited an article published on Nov. 5, 2002 which, they claimed, accused the judges and lawyers of reaching a «secret deal» to clear the defendants. «It is clear that the article, with deceit, harmed our honor and standing,» said the suit signed by the presiding judge Giorgos Efstathiou and filed July 9. An Athens court is to hear the case on Jan. 8. The Times’ manager for legal affairs, Alistair Brett, declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the paper had not yet been served with any legal proceedings. (AP)

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