Turkey jails 22 ex-soldiers for life over 2016 coup attempt

22 former soldiers have been sentenced to life imprisonment by a Turkish court for their roles in a failed 2016 bid to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The judgement was passed on Wednesday April 7 after a sweeping political crackdown, arrests and investigation of the role of 497 former soldiers, including members of the presidential guard.

A document obtained by AFP from one of the President’s lawyers, showed that the jailed soldiers include former lieutenant colonel Umit Gencer who was convicted of “violating the constitutional order” by making TRT television read out a “coup declaration”.

According to state news agency Anadolu’s report, the court also handed ex-major Fedakar Akca an aggravated life sentence for leading a team from the regiment to the general staff headquarters on the night.

Former colonel Muhammet Tanju Poshor received his sentence for directing the occupation of the TRT building.

Another ex-major, Osman Koltarla, was in charge of the presidential palace’s security at the time. The court also handed him a life sentence.

An aggravated life sentence has tougher terms of detention and replaced the death penalty after it was abolished in 2004.

The verdict which was read out in the country’s largest courtroom which was specially built to hear coup trials at Sincan prison complex in Ankara province, marks the end of the cases heard in the capital, nearly five years later.

The failed coup left 248 people dead, excluding 24 putschists killed on the night. Turkey accuses US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the failed coup, a claim he strongly denies.


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