Judges face prison for plot to jail Gülen's critics

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 09.06.2016 23:09

The chief prosecutor's office in Istanbul has drafted an indictment against a panel of judges accused of ignoring evidence in favor of defendants in a military espionage case. Judges Metin Özçelik, Mehmet Ekinci, Birol Bilen and prosecutor Fikret Seçen are charged with defamation, abuse of duty and falsifying or destroying official documents for not including a critical expert report to the case regarding the defendants.

The military espionage case in question is regarded as a plot by the shady Gülen Movement to imprison military officers and several people they deemed critical of the group.

The indictment says judges and prosecutors deliberately ignored a report by TÜBİTAK, a state-run science body tasked with providing expert opinion in such cases, despite multiple pleas by defense lawyers. Prosecutors have taken legal action after a 2014 story on the issue at a newspaper whose staff was among those jailed by Gülen-linked prosecutors and judges, only to be acquitted later.

Gülenists, led by fugitive cleric Fethullah Gülen, are accused of silencing their critics, detractors or those they deemed obstacles in gaining clout in the police, judiciary and bureaucracy. Through their infiltrators in these three state branches, Gülenists have amassed huge influence within the state that eventually led to two blatant coup attempts to overthrow the government under the guise of legal probes against people close to the government in 2013. Since then, Ankara purged hundreds of Gülenists from state agencies and issued arrest warrants for senior names in the movement.

The movement and its senior cadres are designated as the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and are accused of masterminding several sham trials through their infiltrators in courts and police headquarters. The military espionage trial, where dozens of suspects were accused of supplying confidential information about the army to foreign intelligence services, netted 56 defendants and all were acquitted earlier this year after a six-year trial.

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