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Jailed Bohemia devs 'face trial delay amid Greece protests'

New website allows people to send messages of support to detained pair

Two games developers awaiting trial for alleged espionage do not have a clear idea of when their day in court will arrive, a person connected to the matter has claimed.

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It emerged in September that Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar - two developers working on the military FPS game ArmA 3 - were arrested near their hotel while touring Greece.

State officials accused the pair of espionage, initially alleging that they had taken detailed photos of a military instillation in Greece.

Buchta and Pezlar now face up to 20 years in prison for charges of spying, which they deny. However, formal proceedings appear to have been blocked due to austerity protests affecting Greece's judicial system.

Jay Crowe, Creative Director at Bohemia, said his team "doesn't have any direct form of communication with the guys, but they're able to call their families".

"Obviously, being in a foreign prison they don't feel great, to say the least. They're trying to stay strong and maintain a faith in justice," he told PC Gamer.

Crowe suspects that Buchta in particular could be affected by the isolation.

"Knowing Ivan, I can say he's a real family man. This year, while presenting our game at E3, Ivan and I were roommates. On account of his famous snoring, you might say I'd drawn the short straw. But, after a long day of presenting, we'd share some beers, and he'd share funny stories about his wife and baby daughter. He missed them both terribly after only a week away from them. I can't begin to imagine what he's going through right now."

A website dedicated to the detained pair has been set up. helpivanmartin.org features a section where users can write messages of support through postcards.

Crowe said the situation "really does seem to have spiralled out of all proportion".

"Only hours after their arrest some bizarre media campaign seemed to kick into gear - talking about Czech spies arrested in the act of photographing military complexes to be used in ArmA 3 - all despite the fact that they weren't actually formally charged with anything until much later on. I can't imagine that helped the public perception of the situation."

Greek authorities have a reputation for being particularly sensitive when it comes to matters related to its military operations.
In 2001, a group of 12 Britons and two Dutch plane-spotters were found guilty of "spy charges" at a Greek court.
One year later, eight were found guilty of espionage and sentenced to three years in jail. The other six were convicted of aiding and abetting and received a one-year suspended sentence.
The following year, thirteen of the 14 plane-spotters had their convictions overturned. The Home Office, at the time, had apologised for not intervening.

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