• Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019
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500 suspects on trial in Turkey's biggest coup case

  • Published at 06:40 pm August 1st, 2017
500 suspects on trial in Turkey's biggest coup case

Nearly 500 people appeared in court Tuesday in the biggest trial yet of suspects from Turkey's failed coup, facing charges of conspiring to oust the government from an air base seen as the plotters' hub.

A total of 486 suspects have been indicted in the case and almost all the suspects, a total of 461, are held in custody while seven are still on the run and the remainder charged but not in jail.

Some of those held were marched into the court outside Ankara one-by-one in a long line in front of the television cameras and public, with each suspect held by two members of the Turkish gendarmerie and flanked by an armed soldier.

People chanted "we want the death penalty!" and some threw nooses towards the suspects. The death penalty has been abolished in Turkey since 2004.

There were also chants of "martyrs don't die, the nation won't be divided".

Largest courtroom

The trial is taking place in Turkey's largest courtroom established inside a prison complex in Sincan to hear coup-related trials and has space for 1,558 people.

The courtroom has previously hosted mass trials related to the coup bid including one which opened in February of 330 suspects accused of murder or attempted murder.

And in May, 221 suspects were put on trial accused of being the ringleaders of the failed coup.

The attempted coup left 249 people dead, the Turkish presidency says, not including 24 coup-plotters killed on the night.

There was heavy security including 1,130 security personnel inside and outside the courtroom, according to state-run news agency Anadolu, as well as snipers, armoured security vehicles and a drone.

The trial is one of several held across Turkey judging coup suspects, in the largest legal process in the country's modern history.

Over 50,000 people have been arrested over alleged links to Gulen in a widescale crackdown under the state of emergency imposed following the coup.