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Trials Begin for Hundreds Accused in Failed Turkey Coup

  • VOA News

Paramilitary police and members of the special forces escort former Air Force commander Akin Ozturk and other suspects of last year's failed coup, outside the courthouse at the start of a trial, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017.

Nearly 500 people suspected of involvement in an unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey last year went on trial Tuesday, where they face the prospect of the death penalty if found guilty.

Those on trial Tuesday include top Army generals and pilots who are accused of directing the coup and bombing government buildings. They face charges that include murder and attempting to overthrow the government.

The main defendant named in the case is the U.S.-based cleric Fetullah Gulen, whom has been blamed of masterminding the coup attempt. He has denied any involvement and is being tried in absentia.

The trial is expected to last at least a month and comes amidst a massive post-coup crackdown that has seen more than 100,000 government workers fired and the imprisonment of around 50,000 people.

Protesters lined the street outside the courthouse as a group of 41 defendants were made to march there from the jail where they were being held.

A total of 461 suspects are currently being held in jail, while another 18 have been freed while they await trial. Seven others, including Gulen, are being tried in absentia as the Turkish government works to track them down.

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