Top figure in alleged Turkish coup ring freed

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

More detainees in

More detainees in "Ergenekon" coup trial released as the maximum detention period is reduced

ISTANBUL - Courts in Istanbul have released more detainees in a large-scale trial on the alleged "Ergenekon" organization, including former retired general Veli Kucuk, who was accused of being among the senior figures within the organization.

Kucuk had been in prison for over six years on two counts of aggravated life sentence for attempting a coup d'etat.

Thirty-seven people, among them military officers and journalists, have been released in two days since Monday due to a new law that brought the maximum detention period down to five years from ten.

Others released along with Kucuk were retired General Levent Ersoz, Colonel Fuat Selvi and lawyer Serdar Ozturk.

On Monday, Kucuk, Ersoz and Ozturk demanded to be released, which the Istanbul's 3rd Penal Court rejected. Their appeal to the decision was accepted on Tuesday by the 4th Penal Court.

President Abdullah Gul on Tuesday criticized long detention periods in Turkish judiciary, saying they were turning into a "type of punishment."

The Ergenekon case was filed six years ago against 275 people, including military officers, politicians and journalists, over a conspiracy to overthrow the incumbent Justice and Development (AK) Party government. 

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