A Turkish court on Wednesday ruled for the release from prison of three former military cadets who are being retried for their role in a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, the TR724 news website reported.
The three former cadets were among defendants who took part in raids on the buildings of Turkish state broadcaster TRT and satellite TV provider Digiturk on the night of the coup attempt. They were earlier handed down life sentences by a high criminal court in İstanbul, which were upheld by a regional appeals court in January 2018. However, the cadets are now being retried after the Supreme Court of Appeals reversed the convictions in April.
The Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that the cadets be retried on charges of assisting the crime of violation of the constitution, which requires a lesser sentence.
The trial of the remaining military cadets was adjourned until early December.
A total of 259 military cadets were detained on coup charges on July 16, 2016 and were arrested four days later. The cadets were indicted one year after they were put in pretrial detention, and their trial was concluded in May 2018. One hundred seventy-eight of the cadets were given life sentences on charges of attempting to overturn the constitutional order and attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and parliament by use of force as well as membership in a terrorist organization.
The cadets say they didn’t know a coup attempt was underway and were acting on orders from their superiors, who told them there was a terrorist attack.
The military coup attempt killed 251 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 faith-based Gülen movement. The movement strongly denies any involvement.