Spy-charge couple back in Greece

MILDENHALL couple Paul and Lesley Coppin will appear in a Greek court today to stand trial for spying.The pair from Worlington Road, Mildenhall, are among a group of 12 British plane-spotters facing five years in prison if they are convicted for espionage offences.

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MILDENHALL couple Paul and Lesley Coppin will appear in a Greek court today to stand trial for spying.

The pair from Worlington Road, Mildenhall, are among a group of 12 British plane-spotters facing five years in prison if they are convicted for espionage offences.

The couple tried to relax yesterday around the Haikos Hotel in Kalamata, where they are staying, before revisiting the court where they were remanded in custody for 37 days last year.


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"The last time I saw the police station, I was in a wire cage in a police van," said an emotional Mrs Coppin.

"Going back to the courthouse is going to be stressful. But, then again, there's not much point in worrying about things you can't do anything about. So we are just going to try and relax ready for the morning."

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The high-profile case, which has attracted media attention from across Europe, is being seen as an opportunity to improve the continuity of the judicial systems across the continent.

The Coppins plan to help to make sure other people in the future do not have to go through what they had to endure.

Mr Coppin said: "Our case is an example of how things can go wrong and I don't think such a big mistake has been made involving so many people before - that's why this is an important case."

His 51-year-old wife added: "It doesn't finish with acquittal. We will go on to campaign in Europe for a common standard in the legal systems.

"We met a lot of people in prison who shouldn't be there. If we can push things through to affect change, then 37 days in prison will not have felt like a waste of time."

The group, which includes two Dutch men, were accompanied to Greece by Stephen Jakobi, director of international charity Fair Trials Abroad, and Mr Coppin said it was important for the plane-spotters to have the organisation on their side.

"They have been involved from the start and they want to make sure that the case is done in the correct way," he added.

The group were arrested on November 8 at an air base near Kalamata and accused of spying by taking photographs.

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