NEWS

Planespotters’ appeal begins

KALAMATA (AP) – A harmless hobby or dangerous security breach? A Kalamata court will have to decide after British and Dutch planespotters yesterday launched their appeal against espionage convictions that stunned diplomats and left many Greeks wondering why anyone would watch war planes for fun. All but one of the 12 British and two Dutch aviation enthusiasts arrived in Kalamata, where they were arrested a year ago at an air show after a tour of six Greek military bases. The group appeared in court to open the appeal, but the actual trial is expected to start today. All 14 were jailed for five weeks following their arrest on felony spying charges, which were later reduced. In April, eight defendants were sentenced to three years in prison for illegally gathering information; eight others received one-year jail terms for complicity. They were released pending the appeal. «After what happened last time, we don’t really expect very much,» said Paul Coppin, 57, who organized the planespotting trip to Greece. «I think a reduction of the sentence would probably be the best outcome.»