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Coup Ringleaders’ Trial: Turkey Imprisons 151 For Life

SOURCE: AFP/The PUNCH 

A Turkish court on Thursday gave life sentences to 151 people including senior military officers in one of the biggest trials over the 2016 failed bid to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The judge handed 128 of those convicted between one and 141 aggravated life terms each over the deaths of 139 people, for “violating the constitution” and “attempting to assassinate the president”, the private DHA news agency reported.

Such sentences carry harsher prison conditions.

A further 23 individuals were given customary life sentences, the agency said, while 27 suspects received prison sentences of up to 20 years.

Among the suspects was US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of ordering the attempted putsch in which left hundreds were killed and thousands more injured.

Gulen strongly denies the claims. Turkey has failed to secure his extradition.

Former air force chief Akin Ozturk and Mehmet Disli, the brother of former ruling party lawmaker Saban Disli, who since September has served as Turkey’s ambassador to the Netherlands, were among those convicted.

Lieutenant Colonel Levent Turkkan, who was the aide to ex-Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar, was given one aggravated life sentence, state news agency Anadolu reported. Akar was appointed defence minister in July 2018.

Thirty-three suspects were acquitted.

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