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Saturday, 8 December, 2001, 16:59 GMT
Greek tragedy for jailed plane-spotters
The suspects arrive in court
A group of 12 British and two Dutch plane-spotters arrested on spy charges in Greece have been found guilty at a Greek court. The spotters, arrested at an airshow in Greece last November, plan to appeal against the verdicts. BBC News Online follows the progress of the case.

Saturday 27 April


The plane-spotters arrive at Luton airport
Arriving home, but ready to appeal
The British plane-spotters pledge to fight to clear their names as they return to the UK. Speaking at Luton airport they told how they were "horrified" at the verdicts delivered less than 24 hours earlier. They have vowed to return to Greece to appeal against their convictions and, if necessary, to take their cases as far as the European courts.

 The BBC's Clarence Mitchell reports


Friday 26 April
Some of the plane-spotters speak with their lawyers after the verdict
Some of the plane-spotters speak with their lawyers after the verdict
The plane-spotters express their shock at the guilty verdicts and jail sentences reached by judges at the Greek court. Eight of the group have been sentenced to three years in jail for espionage, and the other six to one year in jail, suspended for three years, for aiding and abetting. All have been allowed to return home to prepare their appeals.

 The BBC's Emma Simpson reports


Thursday 25 April
Nektarios Samaras reads from a confiscated notebook
Nektarios Samaras: The 12 must have wanted "classified information"
The 12 British plane-spotters accused of spying in Greece were pursuing a harmless hobby, and the information they were gathering was already available, expert witnesses tell the court. The first day of their trial, which has lasted for more than 14 hours, hear from several witnesses for both the defence and the prosecution.

 The BBC's Tabitha Morgan reports


Wednesday 24 April
Lesley and Paul Coppin
Lesley and Paul Coppin are among the 12 Britons
The trial of the British plane-spotters facing charges of espionage in Greece begins. But progress is delayed after administrative problems concerning bond payments for the defendants. The 11 men and one woman said before the trial that they were confident of being acquitted

 The BBC's Emma Simpson reports


Monday 17 December
Steven Rush has pledged to prove his innocence
Steven Rush has pledged to prove his innocence
After being held for five weeks on spying charges, British plane-spotter Steven Rush and his partner, Jenny Child, describe the uncertainty they were faced with. Speaking on the BBC's Breakfast programme, Mr Rush said he wants to return to Greece to 'clear his name'.

 British plane-spotter Steven Rush


Saturday 15 December
The group are relieved to be home
The group are relieved to be home
The British plane-spotters held in Greece on spying charges are "elated" to be back in the UK, but angry about their treatment. Eleven of the group touched down at Luton airport on Saturday morning, with one arriving at Heathrow.

 The BBC's Emma Simpson reports


Friday 14 December: Plane-spotters freed from jail
Plane-spotter Paul Coppin was the trip organiser
Plan-spotter Paul Coppin is freed from custody pursued by reporters
The 12 British and two Dutch plane-spotters held in Greece are released from prison after spying charges against them are reduced. The British Consul says it is not clear whether the 12 will be able to fly back to Britain, but they are expected to return to the UK as soon as possible.

 The BBC's Rachel Ellison reports


Wednesday 12 December
The plane-spotters wait for news from the court
The group may have to return to Greece for trial next year
There was an early Christmas present for the plane spotters when a Greek court dropped the most serious charges of espionage. The group were told they could leave prison provided they paid bail of around 9,000 each. They still face a lesser misdemeanour charge of illegal information collection.

 The BBC's Paul Wood reports
 The BBC's Emily Simpson reports on reaction from the families


Monday 10 December
British plane-spotters detained in Greece on suspicions of terrorism
British plane-spotters detained in Greece on suspicions of terrorism
Greece's state prosecutor has recommended that the plane-spotters being held on spying charges should face trial. Three judges are due to meet in the town where the group were arrested, to decide whether they should be freed or face charges.

 The BBC's Gavin Hewitt reports


Saturday 8 December
Plane spotting is a very British pastime
Plane spotting is a very British pastime
The 14-strong group faces further delays in the hearing of their case, raising fears they will spend Christmas in prison. Defence lawyers say they have not yet received a key report from the prosecutors which will give an indication of how the case will progress.

 The BBC's Jane Warr reports
  UK MEP Richard Howitt speaking just before the latest delays in hearing the case


Tuesday 27 November
All the suspects deny the charges
All the suspects deny the charges which can carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Another court hearing ends with the group ordered back to prison. Magistrate Socrates Gavalas decides to refer the case to a higher authority. British ministers including Tony Blair have repeatedly raised the case with their Greek counterparts but the government in Athens, although sympathetic, has been unable to influence the courts.

 The BBC's Paul Wood reports


Tuesday 20 November
A member of the group of plane spotters is taken to court
A member of the group of plane spotters is taken to court
The plane-spotters face fresh espionage charges after magistrates in Greece examined intelligence service reports on photographs and notebooks belonging to them. The group are already accused of taking photographs of a military airbase but they deny all the charges against them.

  The BBC's Paul Wood reports
 Mrs Butt, mother of one of the 12


Monday 12 November
A  plane at a Greek military airfield
Taking photographs of military aircraft is banned in Greece
The 11 men and one woman from Britain were arrested along with two Dutch people after allegedly taking photographs at a military air show and a military airbase. They were travelling with an organisation called Touchdown Tours and are now being held in a jail in Kalamata on spying charges.

 The BBC's Tony Morris reports

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