102 War Colleges staff members sentenced life in prison over coup attempt

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The İstanbul 26th High Criminal court handed down 35 life sentences and 67 aggravated life sentences on charges of “violating the constitutional order” due to actions taken on the night of a July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

One hundred twenty-six defendants who were military personnel at the War Colleges Command were accused of kidnapping and imprisoning the college commander, Lt. Gen. Tahir Bekiroğlu.

The other 23 defendants were acquitted of the charge of violation of constitutional order, while 10 of them were convicted on different charges, such as “deprivation of liberty,” “unlawful search” and “qualified robbery.”

The case of Zafer Özleblebici, another defendant who has been at large, was ordered to be separated from the others.

Among the defendants were three major generals, including commander of the army staff college, Maj. Gen. Selim Mert.

The prosecutor in his opinion submitted to the court on July 23 demanded life sentences for 125 defendants.

Turkish authorities believed the Gülen movement orchestrated the coup attempt, although the movement strongly denies it.

According to the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), aggravated life provides fewer rights to the convict such as less frequent visitors in prison than a straight life sentence. There is also no chance of parole under an aggravated life sentence.

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