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Plane spotters in Greek bail wrangle

PUBLISHED: 10:14 21 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:54 03 March 2010

A COUPLE thrown into a Greek jail after being wrongly accused of espionage fear the ordeal they had thought was over could continue for years.

Paul and Lesley Coppin voiced their concerns after fresh complications arose in the return of their £19,000 bail money from the Greek government.

A COUPLE thrown into a Greek jail after being wrongly accused of espionage fear the ordeal they had thought was over could continue for years.

Paul and Lesley Coppin voiced their concerns after fresh complications arose in the return of their £19,000 bail money from the Greek government.

The Greek authorities had promised the couple from Mildenhall would finally get their money returned by May 12, but have now said a hitch has delayed that until the end of next week.

The bail money to free the couple from a Greek jail, where they were being held on spying charges, was put up by well-wishers following a national appeal.

Mr and Mrs Coppin had hoped to use the money to pay off legal bills, estimated to run to about £16,000, which they amassed mounting a successful appeal last year against their convictions.

Even if the bail is refunded, Mrs Coppin said complications in an agreement with the national appeal organises could mean they never see the money they had earmarked to cover their legal costs.

Mr and Mrs Coppin were among a group of 14 plane-spotters arrested on suspicion of spying while they attended an air show in the southern Greek town of Kalamata in 2001.

The plane-spotters were kept in jail for five weeks before being freed on bail, costing them about £9,000 each.

They were found guilty of the charges in a Greek court, but returned to Greece in April and had their convictions quashed on appeal.


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