Turkey coup trial: Court sentences 104 army ‘plotters’ to life

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Former military personnel given life sentences for trying to overthrow the constitutional order, state media says.

A Turkish court handed life sentences to 104 suspects over their involvement in the July 2016 attempted coup, according to state media.

The former military personnel were given “aggravated life sentences” by a court in the western province of Izmir on Monday, state-run Anadolu news agency said, for “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”.

Such prison sentences, which replaced the death penalty in Turkey, carry harsher conditions than normal life sentences.

In total, 280 military staff are on trial over the failed coup bid.

Among the suspects receiving life sentences were former Air Force Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Hasan Huseyin Demiraslan and ex-Aegean Army Command Chief of Staff Major General Memduh Hakbilen.

The court gave 21 suspects a 20-year jail sentence for “assisting the assassination of the president” while 31 were given sentences between seven years and six months and 10 years and six months for being a member of an armed “terror” group, the agency added.

Plot to kill Erdogan

There was an alleged plot to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the coup while he was on holiday in the Aegean resort of Marmaris with his family. The president says he was saved by 15 minutes from the plot.

The attempted coup claimed more than 240 lives, according to the Turkish presidency, not including the coup-plotters.

More than 2,000 people were injured in the incident.

Ankara accuses US-based Muslim religious leader Fethullah Gulen of ordering the failed coup. He denies the accusations.

Turkish authorities say the movement Gulen runs is a “terrorist” organisation, claiming that its members have been running “a parallel state” within the civilian and military bureaucracy and following their own agenda. Gulen denies the claims.

Following the attempted coup, tens of thousands of people have been arrested and public workers have been sacked or suspended over alleged links to outlawed Gulen or Kurdish fighters under the state of emergency imposed in July 2016.

Turkey has come under heavy criticism from its Western allies and activists over the scale of the crackdown and repeated calls for the emergency to come to an end.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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