Top Turkish court says rights of plot case defendants violated

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Constitutional Court rules that rights of 230 defendants convicted as part of 'Sledgehammer' trial were violated concerning 'digital data' collection

Constitutional Court rules that rights of 230 defendants convicted as part of 'Sledgehammer' trial were violated concerning 'digital data' collection

ANKARA - Turkey’s top court unanimously ruled Wednesday that the rights of 230 defendants convicted in September 2012 as part of a trial into an alleged military plot had been violated.

The ruling paves the way for a retrial of the defendants who were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 6 years to 20 years for plotting to topple the Turkish government as part of the "Balyoz" (Sledgehammer) coup plan.

The Constitutional Court said the ruling was based on the breach of the defendants’ rights concerning "digital data" collection and wiretapping against them.

Sledgehammer is an alleged military coup plan by a junta in the Turkish Armed Forces which reportedly dates back to 2003, a year after the ruling Justice and Development Party came to power.

According to the alleged plan, the military was to systematically foment chaos in society through chilling acts of violence including bombing of mosques in Istanbul and downing of a Turkish war plane over the Aegean.

In September 2012, the court sentenced 324 of the 365 defendants to jail terms for conspiring to topple the government, although an appeals court partially overturned the decision and released 88 of the defendants in October 2013 due to lack of evidence.

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