Plane-spotters land in hotter water

Judicial authorities brought additional charges yesterday against a group of detained British and Dutch plane-spotters already facing a felony charge of espionage, their lawyers said. The 12 British and two Dutch plane-spotters have now been accused of taking down notes and aircraft numbers at a restricted military base near Megara, west of Athens, which could endanger Greek national security. The additional charge was brought following a review of an air force report. What was initially considered little more than a misunderstanding has now turned much more serious, said lawyer Ioannis Zacharias. «It started as a joke case, but now the case is more difficult for the defense lawyers,» he said. Government spokesman Christos Protopappas said there was little the state could do because «the judiciary is independent.» He added that at military areas, «there are signs everywhere informing the public that photography and such actions are forbidden.» The group already faces a felony charge of espionage after their Nov. 8 arrest for allegedly taking photographs and notes while attending an air show at a military airfield in the southern city of Kalamata. The group is to appear in a Kalamata court on Tuesday, Zacharias said. Until then, the 13 men will be held in a prison in the southern town of Nafplion, and the British woman in the high-security Athens Korydallos prison, the only one with a women’s section. (AP)

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