Hundreds acquitted in alleged coup plot case in Turkey

A total of 236 suspects, including several generals, acquitted in so-called Sledgehammer case, which dated back to 2003.

    Cevik Bir, the former deputy chief of the general staff, was among the suspects acquitted [EPA]
    Cevik Bir, the former deputy chief of the general staff, was among the suspects acquitted [EPA]

    A Turkish court has acquitted more than 200 suspects accused of plotting a coup in 2003 against the government.

    A total of 236 people, including several generals, were retried by an Istanbul court after Turkey's top court last year quashed their original convictions in the so-called Sledgehammer case.

    "It is understood that the digital data in the file is not evidence. We reached the conclusion that it is not possible to find any relation between the suspects and the digital data in question," said prosecutor Ramazan Oksuz, according to the newspaper Hurriyet Daily News, demanding acquittal for all suspects.

    The prosecutor reportedly said there was strong suspicion that the digital evidence put forward to convict the suspects was "fake", adding that it was not possible to link the data to the suspects.

    Suspects acquitted included former generals Cetin Dogan, Ozden Ornek, Halil Ibrahim Firtina, Dursun Cicek, Bilgin Balanli, Ergin Saygun, Nejat Bek and Suha Tanyeri and Engin Alan.

    The retrial process started in November last year, after Turkey's Constitutional Court decided that the rights of the suspects were breached in the previous process. The suspects were first convicted in 2012.

    All involved with the case were released pending trial in June 2014 after the Constitutional Court ruling.

    The case focused on an alleged coup attempt in 2003 to overthrow the government of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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