32 sentenced to life imprisonment for failed Turkey coup
Ankara, April 8 (IANS): A Turkish court has sentenced 32 people, including former soldiers, to life imprisonment for their involvement in the 2016 failed coup, according to state media.
Wednesday’s verdict by the 19th Ankara Heavy Criminal Court for 497 defendants was made after four years of trial that saw 243 hearings, reports Xinhua news agency.
The defendants, including the presidential guards, were accused of attempting to seize the military headquarters in Ankara, and raiding the state broadcaster TRT, whose news anchor was forced to read out a statement on behalf of the coup-plotters.
In the massive trial, the court sentenced 32 defendants to life imprisonment, including six that received aggravated terms with no parole, one person to 61 years in prison, and 106 to terms ranging from six to 16 years.
The rest were either acquitted or not given any prison terms.
A total of 104 are already behind bars while 11 are on trial in absentia.
Ankara blames the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the failed coup, and has designated his movement as a terrorist group.
The cleric denies charges.
Turkey arrested tens of thousands and dismissed more than 100,000 from public service since the failed coup, 21,000 of them from the armed forces alone.
Out of a total of 289 trials into the coup attempt, 14 are still ongoing.