An İstanbul court has released pending retrial eight more military cadets who had been convicted on coup charges and sentenced to life in prison due to their alleged role in a coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, local media reported on Tuesday, citing their lawyer.
The release of the cadets was based on a recent ruling from the Supreme Court of Appeals, which overturned the sentences of the cadets.
The military cadets were indicted on coup charges for blocking the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (FSM) over the Bosporus on the night of the coup. The cadets testified that they had no idea that a coup was unfolding and they were just acting on orders from their superiors, who told them there was a terrorist attack.
Lawyer Ayça Çiçek on Tuesday announced the release of the eight military cadets, who have been behind bars for the past six years, on social media, describing the local court’s decision as “more good news.”
Güzel bir haber daha. Bugün düzenlenen Tensip Zaptı ile FSM dosyasında tutuklu kalan 8 öğrenciyi de yerel Mahkeme serbest bıraktı. Gerçek bir bayram hediyesi!
— Ayça Çiçek (@_aycacicek_) July 5, 2022
The development comes after a number of military cadets who had been convicted as part of the same trial were released from jail on May 26, after an appeals court overturned their sentences.
The cadets will be retried and are expected to either get a lighter sentence or be acquitted.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that claimed the lives of 251 people and was suppressed overnight.
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 a year after they were put in pretrial detention, and their trial was concluded in 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 government and parliament by use of force as well as membership in a terrorist organization.
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.