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Greece to release Czech game developers

PRAGUE (AFP) – Two Czech computer game developers arrested in Greece on suspicion of espionage in September are to be released on bail, the Czech foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

”An investigation committee has decided to allow a release with the bail set at 5,000 euros ($6,660) for each of them,” ministry spokesman Karel Srol told AFP, quoting the men’s Greek lawyer.

”After payment they will no longer be prevented from returning to the Czech Republic. The investigations will continue,” Srol added.

The office of Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas confirmed the news, saying Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras informed Necas about the release by phone.

Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta, who specialise in making popular military-themed computer games, were arrested on September 9, 2012 after being caught on the Aegean island of Lemnos with cameras containing video footage of various military installations.
The Czech Republic and Greece are NATO allies.

Their detention on suspicion of espionage sparked protests in Prague, where more than 20,000 people signed a petition urging their release.

The two men told Greek police they had been working on ”Arma 3”, a futuristic combat game to be released next year, which takes place on the Greek islands of Lemnos and Ai Stratis, both of which have extensive military installations.

But their employer, Bohemia Interactive studio, said they were on vacation in Greece and insisted its games were based on ”publicly available” information.

Several versions of the studio’s popular Arma 2 tactical shooter game have been released since 2009.