By Tony Rigopoulos
ATHENS (AA) - A Greek court Friday refused to approve the extradition of one of nine Turkish citizens accused of being members of the DHKP-C terrorist group.
The far-left terrorist suspects had plotted to assassinate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to Greece last December, Greek media reported after their arrest last year.
According to the Athens Macedonian News Agency (AMNA), the appeals court ruled in line with prosecutors’ suggestion, denying Ankara’s extradition request on the grounds that Mehmet Dogan has been recognized as a “political refugee” by French authorities.
Prosecutor Efstathia Kapagianni said that the French decision, combined with Dogan’s travel documents, suggest that he is covered under the Geneva Convention.
The ruling also alleges that if Dogan was handed over to Turkey his life would be in danger.
Dogan was arrested last November in Athens along with eight more Turkish nationals and accused of forming and participating in a terrorist organization and possessing explosives and weapons unlawfully, among other charges.
Ankara has requested the extradition of at least two of the accused. The second extradition request will be heard in court next Tuesday, Feb. 6.
The refusal of Greek courts to extradite to Turkey accused terrorists -- notably eight ex-soldiers accused of taking part in the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey -- has added strains to ties between Ankara and Athens.