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Turkish court hands down prison sentences to dozens of officers in 2016 coup trial

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A Turkish court has handed down prison sentences to 38 military officers for their alleged roles in a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The latest hearing in the trial of 138 military members took place at the İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court on Thursday.

The court issued prison sentences ranging between 12-and-a-half and 15 years to 38 of the defendants on charges of attempting to overturn the constitutional order.

Two of the defendants were handed down prison sentences of six years, three months on the charge of membership in a terrorist organization. Two others received suspended sentences on the same charge.

The court decided not to convict 73 defendants for the crimes they were accused of because they acted on instructions from their superiors, which they mistakenly believed to be lawful.

The court acquitted 23 defendants of all charges.

According to an earlier report from Anadolu, Turkish courts by July had handed down sentences to 4,891 defendants in 289 cases involving the failed coup in 2016.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, a worldwide civic initiative inspired by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, of masterminding the attempted coup in addition to labeling the faith-based group as a terrorist organization.

Apart from coup trials, thousands of others were convicted of membership in or leading a terrorist group after they were detained over alleged ties to the Gülen movement.

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