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Verhofstadt to Tsipras: “Greek authorities must be guided by European principles when deciding about the fate of the eight Turkish officers.”

Today, ALDE Group leader, Guy Verhofstadt, sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, ahead of tomorrow’s hearing of the Greek Supreme Court on the case of eight Turkish army officers who sought asylum in Greece, following the failed military coup last year. The Supreme Court could decide to extradite the soldiers.

In the letter, Guy Verhofstadt reminds PM Tsipras of fundamental principles that we share across the European Union – which obliges all EU Member States not to extradite anyone, irrespective of his/her guilt, to a state where he or she would risk facing torture or any other inhuman or degrading treatment (Art. 19 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union).

Verhofstadt added:

“Unfortunately, in the past five months following the coup we have seen thousands of Turkish citizens arrested. The way post-coup emergency laws are being implemented gives rise to serious concerns about the respect of inviolable rights guaranteed by the Turkish constitution; including the right to life, integrity of corporal and spiritual existence, the presumption of innocence and also the right to a fair trial. These concerns were also articulated by the European Commission and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.”

“I hope that you share my view about the need to preserve and fully respect fundamental European values and principles, which Greece helped shape throughout European history and which it decided to abide by through its membership of the European Union and the Council of Europe.
I sincerely hope that Greek authorities will be guided by these principles when deciding the fate of the eight Turkish officers.”

Note to editors:

All eight Turkish army officers – among whom are two majors, three captains, and two sergeant-majors – fled Turkey on a Black Hawk helicopter, hours after the aborted coup attempt on the night of 15/16 July 2016. They denied being involved in the coup attempt.

The letter sent by ALDE Group leader, Guy Verhofstadt to Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras is attached. (lettertopmtsipras.pdf).

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