In Brief

Forty sentenced to life in prison in Turkey

Defendants were accused of plotting to kill Turkish president in 2016 coup attempt

A Turkish court has sentenced 40 people to life in prison, after finding them guilty of plotting to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during last year’s attempted military coup.

Judge Emirsah Bastog read out guilty verdicts for 42 of the 47 defendants in a courtroom in Mugla, in southwest Turkey, near the luxury resort where Erdogan narrowly escaped being seized by a team of rogue soldiers on 15 July last year.

“The court sentenced 40 to life in prison, with some receiving aggravated life sentences, reducing the possibility of parole,” The Guardian reports.

Among those sentenced was Ali Yazıcı, Erdogan’s former military aide, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in the failed coup.

“No verdict was given for three who were tried in absentia, including US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for orchestrating the coup,” Reuters reports.

“Outside the court in Mulga, supporters of President Erdogan waved banners calling for the death sentence - which was abolished in Turkey in 2004, when the country was seeking admission to the EU,” the BBC says.

The failed coup led to a number of arrests, including high-ranking members of the military.

The crackdown has since broadened significantly, with 50,000 arrests made so far. The Erdogan government appears to be purging dissidents from within the judiciary, academia, military, police, civil service and the media.

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