Hundreds go on trial over failed Turkey coup

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 2, 2017

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

It is taking place in a purpose-built courtroom outside the capital Ankara. As some arrived at court they were met by protesters chanting "We want the death penalty!" Gulen is being tried in absentia, and denies any role in the coup attempt. Bombing government buildings and attempting to kill President Tayyip Erdogan. They face charges that include murder and attempting to overthrow the government.

A total of 461 suspects jailed pending trial were brought to the courthouse, handcuffed and each flanked by two gendarme officers.

The government says the coup-plotters used Akinci air base as their headquarters. Turkey's military chief Hulusi Akar and other commanders were held captive for several hours at the base on the night of the coup.

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.

The "number one" defendant is Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, the leader of the Islamic movement that Turkish authorities blame for the failed coup attempt.

The mass purges have raised concerns over human rights and the rule of law.

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