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Greek court 9 jailed ahead of Erdogan visit not terrorists

ATHENS, Greece — A Greek court has cleared of terrorism and criminal arms charges nine people arrested in Athens ahead of a 2017 visit by Turkey’s president and accused of belonging to a Turkish militant group.

Defense lawyer Aleca Zorbala said Wednesday that three of the defendants were acquitted of all charges. The others received sentences of 2 years and 7 months in prison for misdemeanor weapons possession and forged documents. All nine were in jail since Nov. 2017.

The arrests followed a major anti-terrorism police operation days before Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit.

They were charged with belonging to the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

The defendants are of Kurdish, Turkish or Arab origin. Six are recognized political refugees.