An Istanbul court accepted on Monday an indictment against 90 suspects involved in the takeover of the Istanbul Governorate during the July 15 coup attempt blamed on a junta loyal to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Suspects, including conscripts who claimed they simply followed orders from their superiors, face three instances of aggravated lifetime imprisonment. Twelve suspects remain in custody while others were released earlier pending trial, which is now scheduled for March 13.
Prosecutors indicted 14 career officers who participated in an attempt to seize the governorate as FETÖ-linked pro-coup troops were moving to capture strategic locations and kill the president during the brutal putsch.
A strong public resistance helped by police and anti-coup troops ended the coup attempt although not before 248 people were killed by the putschists.
Defendants will be tried at a courthouse in a massive prison complex in Istanbul's Silivri district. All of the suspects are already being held there, although this is not the first trial held in the same place over the coup attempt.
Last month, some 29 police officers went on a trial at the courthouse for aiding pro-coup forces. That trial was postponed to February while the court ruled for the release of eight police officers in the most recent hearing last week.
Some defendants also face lesser charges of up to 1 0years in prison for membership to a terrorist group or aiding a terrorist group in reference to FETÖ.
FETÖ, led by U.S.-based retired preacher Fetullah Gülen, was behind two coup attempts in 2013 by prosecutors and police chiefs loyal to Gülen and is implicated in a string of other crimes, from sham trials to murders thanks to its broad clout within the judiciary, bureaucracy, law enforcement and military.
Istanbul prosecutors have already drafted three indictments regarding the coup attempt in Istanbul. Other indictments implicate troops and officers who occupied Sabiha Gökçen Aairport on the Asian side of the city and the Istanbul offices of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
Thousands of military officers with links to FETÖ have been arrested and dismissed from service following the coup attempt.
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