108 military cadets acquitted, 18 get life without parole in July 15 coup trial

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A high criminal court in Ankara on Wednesday handed down aggravated life sentences without the chance of parole to 18 defendants on coup charges, while 108 others were acquitted in a trial concerning incidents at the Land Forces Command in Ankara on the night of a failed coup attempt in July 2016, the Anadolu news agency reported.

There were 307 defendants in the trial, 110 of whom were given prison sentences ranging from six to 15 years on charges of membership in a terrorist organization. The acquitted defendants were military cadets who did not take part in the coup attempt.

Former Brig. Gen. Kerim Acar, the dean of the military academy at the time, is among the defendants who were given aggravated life sentences. The July 15 military coup attempt killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others.

Immediately after the abortive putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed coup.

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