NEWS

Decision on plane-spotters today?

Members of a 14-strong group of British and Dutch plane-spotters arrested over a month ago on suspicion of espionage could be released from prison today, The Associated Press reported yesterday. Yiannis Zacharias, defense lawyer for the group, said a prosecutor yesterday submitted his report on the case to a court secretary in Kalamata, where the 12 British and two Dutch nationals were arrested for taking photographs at a military airport on a day of open admission. He recommended that the 14 should be tried for espionage. The prosecutor insists that all these people have spied and must be held, Zacharias told the AP. It is certain that they will be tried. The issue is to get them out. The court’s three judges will meet today to discuss whether to try the 14, release them on bail or charge them with lesser offenses, Zacharias said. A decision to release any of the group would be effective immediately. The group was on a paying holiday organized by Touchdown Tours, run by Briton Paul Coppin – who has also been detained along with his wife. The 13 men are held in a prison outside Nafplion, while Lesley Coppin, 51, is detained in the women’s section of the Athens Korydallos Prison. Yesterday, the Athens News Agency quoted the British Press Gazette as carrying a denial by the Air Britain aviation magazine that it had accredited Coppin on a trip to Turkey this year, at the invitation of the Turkish military. The detainees, who photograph military aircraft as a hobby, had been admonished at another three military airports before their final arrest, and warned that they were breaking the law.