Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Planespotters Strip Searched

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Planespotters Strip Searched

Article excerpt

Byline: ED HARRIS

ONE of the 12 planespotters accused of spying in Greece told today how they were stripsearched and put in separate cells, as the diplomatic row over their treatment escalated.

Paul Coppin, who runs Touchdown Tours, the organiser of the weeklong trip, said the 11 men and one woman - his 51-year-old wife Lesley, a grandmother - were enduring "hell" as conditions in jail worsened.

"Our situation was bad before but it is a lot worse now. It is terrifying here," said Mr Coppin, from Mildenhall, Suffolk.

British MEP Richard Howitt was today meeting the Greek minister for justice to try to resolve the issue as calls grew for the release of the 12. MEPs in Brussels have condemned their continued detention and European Parliament President Nicole Fontaine is writing to the Greek government urging a swift end to the case.

Prison officers separated the group and put them in cells with hardened criminals, Mr Coppin said. …

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