England

Crete attack case five extradition to Greece begins

Robert Hughes before and after
Image caption Robert Hughes before the incident - and recovering afterwards

The extradition of five men charged with attacking a footballer outside a Crete nightclub is under way, their solicitor has confirmed.

The five, all from Surrey and Sussex, deny stabbing ex-Oxford United player Robert Hughes, 28, from south London.

Curtis Taylor and Sean Branton, both 20 and from Horley, were due to fly from Heathrow Airport on Tuesday afternoon.

Solicitor Karen Todner said the other three men will be extradited over the next few days.

Daniel Bell, 20, from Horley, is due to be extradited on Wednesday.

George Hollands, 22, from Reigate, Surrey, and Benjamin Herdman, 20, from Worth, West Sussex, are booked on a flight on Thursday.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police will accompany the men to the airport, where they will be handed over to the Greek authorities.

Appeal rejected

The alleged attack happened outside a Crete nightclub in June 2008.

Mr Hughes, from Croydon, was left in a coma and had to undergo three life-saving brain operations.

The men were detained under European arrest warrants in December after declining an offer to return voluntarily to Greece.

In February, City of Westminster Magistrates' Court ordered their extradition to face trial.

The men's appeal against the decision was rejected by the High Court last month.

The men then hoped to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights but the attempt was rebuffed.

In a statement issued on Friday, Ms Todner maintained their innocence and said they faced "horrendous" conditions in a Greek prison.

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