Greece frees German journalist caught on border

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A German journalist caught in a restricted military area on the Greek-Turkish border has been released with a suspended four-month prison sentence, local officials said Wednesday.

Jorg Heuer, 46, has appealed against the sentence handed down by a court in the northeastern town of Alexandroupolis.

He told the court that he was researching a story on irregular immigration in the northeastern Evros region when police found him driving a car near the land border with Turkey where access is only allowed by special permit.

The police said Heuer works for Hamburg's Abendblatt daily.

Greece has hundreds of police and troops deployed across its border with Turkey to stem a rising flow of illegal immigration mainly from Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

Thousands of would-be migrants and asylum seekers are arrested in the area every year, forcing Athens to seek assistance from other European Union states to police the border.

The Greek government has also announced plans to erect a wire fence along part of the border, sparking criticism from rights groups.

© 2011 AFP

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