Verdicts expected for 497 on trial for Turkey coup

Ankara, April 7 (IANS) A massive trial, concerning the failed 2016 coup in Turkey, nears conclusion on Wednesday when an Ankara court is expected to deliver its verdict for 497 defendants.

The trial started in October 2017 and has seen 243 hearings, reports dpa news agency.

Among the accused are former senior soldiers from the presidential guard regiment, according to state news agency Anadolu.

The prosecution is demanding life imprisonment for 90 defendants and a lengthy prison sentences for several others.

Prosecutor separately asked to acquit 264 suspects and continue the trial against 11 fugitives, Anadolu reported.

The suspects are accused of occupying the the state broadcaster TRT headquarters in Ankara on the night of the coup, July 15, 2016.

Other accusations include attempting to overthrow the Constitution and membership in a terrorist organisation.

A total of 104 are already behind bars while 11 are on trial in absentia.

Ankara blames the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the failed coup, and has designated his movement as a terrorist group.

The cleric denies charges.

Turkey arrested tens of thousands and dismissed more than 100,000 from public service since the failed coup, 21,000 of them from the armed forces alone.

Out of a total of 289 trials into the coup attempt, 14 are still ongoing, according to Anadolu.