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Greek court blocks extradition of Turkey coup suspects

The court ordered that the officers -- two commanders, four captains and two sergeants -- be released from police custody

Published: Updated:

Greece's Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the extradition of eight Turkish military officers sought by Ankara over July's failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a justice source said.

The court ordered that the officers -- two commanders, four captains and two sergeants -- be released from police custody.

The judges' ruling conforms with the arguments of prosecutors who said the officers would not receive a fair trial in Turkey.

The eight had landed a helicopter in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis in July, a day after the botched coup against Erdogan.

Turkey has branded them "terrorists" and the case is awkward for Athens, which is working with NATO ally Ankara to stem the flow of migrants through its territory towards western Europe.

The officers deny having taken part in the coup and claim their lives are in danger.

They say that members of their families have been sacked from their jobs and had their passports confiscated.

Since the coup, many Turkish military officers have requested asylum in other NATO countries.

Turkish authorities have arrested thousands of people since July with many thousands more having been sacked -- in particular journalists, teachers and police officers, over alleged links with the movement of Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim preacher accused by Ankara of orchestrating the coup.

The eight officers have requested asylum in Greece. Their applications were rejected in July but appeals are currently being processed.