The first week of the trial of 17 suspects from media outlets linked tothe Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) ended yesterday with an Istanbul court rejecting demands to release the defendants. The hearing was adjourned to September.
Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, writer and journalist brothers who were advocates for the terrorist group, are accused of calling for the coup and of having intimate ties to the putschists and senior FETÖ figures.
Nazlı Ilıcak, another journalist, is accused of having links to FETÖ. Prosecutors are asking for sentences varying between 15 years to life for the coup charges and lesser charges related to being members of a terrorist group. They face life in prison if convicted. These defendants were arrested following the coup attempt, although the majority of suspects remain at large.
Ten suspects are still on the run and one was released pending trial. The case is the first of its kind for journalists suposedly linked to the coup attempt and more such trials will follow in the coming months. Along with the three defendants, Ekrem Dumanlı, the former editor-in-chief of the FETÖ mouthpiece Zaman newspaper, former journalist Emre Uslu and writer Tuncay Opçin, all known for their barrage of pro-FETÖ propaganda on social media, face life in prison for coup charges.
Uslu, Opçin and Dumanlı were spotted in the U.S. where FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen resides following their disappearance after their arrest warrants were issued. Prosecutors say Ilıcak, the Altan brothers, Osman Özsoy, Şemsettin Efe, Emre Uslu and other defendants contacted the five civilians captured at Akıncı Air Base, which was used as the putschist command center on July 15, 2016.
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