Straw asks Greeks to speed up 'spy' cases

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The Independent Online

The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, contacted his Greek counterpart yesterday in an effort to resolve the plight of the 12 British aviation enthusiasts arrested for espionage.

A Foreign Office statement revealed that the plane-spotters, who have been held in prison since 8 November, had been remanded in custody for a further week and reported Mr Straw's discussion with George Papandreou, the Greek foreign minister. "He [Mr Straw] made clear that the 12 were only plane-spotters; any charges brought should reflect their activities. He said that we respected the Greek judicial system but asked for the cases to be dealt with as speedily as possible," the statement read.

Mr Papandreou said he would make sure that the detainees had all the necessary consular assistance and hoped the cases would be resolved quickly. He predicted that the group could eventually be cleared once the authorities in Greece fully understood the British "passion" for observing aircraft and airfields.