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Turkish appeals court upholds 19 sentences in plot to assassinate opposition leader

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A Turkish appeals court has upheld prison sentences handed down to 19 people who stood trial in connection to a 2017 assassination plot targeting Turkey’s main opposition leader, Turkish media outlets reported.

The appeals also court reversed a lower court’s ruling for six defendants and ordered a retrial, while it acquitted two others of all charges.

The defendants, allegedly militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were accused of plotting to assassinate Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu during his “Justice March” from Ankara to İstanbul in June 2017 in protest of the arrest of a CHP deputy.

The trial took place at the Kayseri 2nd High Criminal Court, which handed down prison sentences of up to 15-and-a-half years to the defendants in the trial on charges of terrorist organization membership. The defendants were acquitted of charges of attempted murder and violating the Constitution. The defendants challenged the court’s ruling at an appeals court.

The Justice March from Ankara to İstanbul was initiated in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who was at the time sentenced to 25 years in prison for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

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