After Turkey sent an investigation file prepared by a prosecutors' office to Romania, two Gülen Movement-linked suspects, who are accused of wiretapping President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's office during his tenure as prime minister, have been referred to a court on Tuesday.
In case of an extradition decision by the court, the two suspects will be sent to Turkey and will be present at the hearing scheduled for May 4, in Ankara. Prosecutors are looking at between 21 to 36 years imprisonment for the suspects.
Turkish officials said that the suspects, Sedat Zavar and İlker Usta, first fled to Croatia then moved on to Hungary and then to Romania where they were caught. The suspects are expected to be extradited by Romanian officials soon.
Earlier this month, an Istanbul court issued arrest warrants for three fugitive suspects in the investigation into the illegal tapping of Erdoğan's office. The suspects are accused of eavesdropping on Turkey's top officials and of disclosing information of a highly sensitive nature as well as "forming an organization to commit a crime and being a member of this organization," "violating privacy," "illegally seizing personal information" and "forgery of official documents."
Speaking during an inauguration ceremony in the western province of Bursa last month, Erdoğan said, "Two of those who wiretapped my office were caught in Romania. They first fled to Croatia, moved on to Hungary and then to Romania where they were caught. We have requested their extradition, which I hope will be granted soon."
Five suspects were being sought by police after a lawsuit was filed against them on charges of being involved in the tapping of the office in the Prime Ministry. The first hearing for the case commenced on Jan. 2. While five suspects were at large, eight others appeared before the court. One of the suspects is a former director of the country's scientific watchdog, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).
The suspects stood trial on charges of "political and military espionage." Prosecutors will seek a sentence of 15 to 20 years for the suspects, in accordance with article 328 of the Turkish Penal Code. The public prosecutor from the Bureau of Investigation into Crimes Against Constitutional Order, Durak Çetin, completed the bill of indictment and sent it to the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court on Nov. 18.
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