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Turkish Defectors in Greece Win Asylum Case Delay | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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One of the eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece is escorted to the courthouse July 21, 2016. Reuters

Athens-Greek authorities have postponed hearings for eight Turkish soldiers who sought asylum after they fled Turkey following the abortive coup attempt to better prepare themselves for the interviews, their lawyer announced on Wednesday.

Attorney Vassilis Terzidis said: “Given the very volatile situation in Turkey the eight soldiers wish to wait and better prepare (their case).”

He said that the men “fear for their lives.”

The interviews were postponed, with the first due to start on Aug. 19.

Rights group Amnesty International has said it has “credible evidence” of the abuse and torture of people detained in sweeping post-coup arrests — something Ankara has denied.

Terzidis also referred to the possibility of Turkey restoring the death penalty in the wake of the attempted coup.

“That will be another argument in their favor for the international protection they are requesting,” he said.

The eight men — two commanders, four captains and two sergeants — requested asylum in Greece after landing a military helicopter in the northern city of Alexandroupoli four days after the attempted government takeover.

Last Thursday, a Greek court sentenced the eight — who face a military trial in their homeland if sent back — to suspended two-month prison terms for illegal entry.

They will remain in police custody in Greece until their asylum applications are heard.