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Prosecutor seeks life sentences for 8 defendants in Russian envoy assassination trial

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The prosecutor in a trial concerning the assassination of a Russian ambassador to Turkey has demanded life sentences for eight defendants on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, according to the Turkish media.

Ambassador Andrey Karlov was shot dead by an off-duty policeman while speaking at an Ankara exhibit opening in December 2016. The gunman, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, was killed by police at the scene.

The prosecutor also demanded additional jail time for five of the defendants for membership in the Gülen movement, which is accused of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.

In the course of his attack on the ambassador Altıntaş shouted slogans in reference to Russia’s offensive in Aleppo as well as a war chant used by a jihadist group in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the pro-government media were quick to lay the blame on the Gülen movement.

They insisted on the narrative despite the fact that many suspects denied having any links with the movement and admitted other Islamic affiliations.

The Gülen movement and cleric Fethullah Gülen, who leads it, strongly deny any involvement in the murder as well as the abortive putsch.

The prosecutor alleged that the assassination was an attempt to strain Turkish-Russian relations.

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