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Turkish court releases 'Cage Plan' suspects ahead of hearing

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 7/6/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The final three suspects under arrest in connection to the Cage Plan were released Monday pending trial, leaving no suspects under arrest in the case.

The final three suspects under arrest in connection to the “Kafes” (Cage) Plan were released Monday pending trial, leaving no suspects under arrest in the case, news agencies reported.

Some 33 defendants are being tried in the case.

Istanbul’s 12th Court for Serious Crimes had rejected in June requests from lawyers that the final three suspects, on-duty soldiers Col. Mücahit Erakyol, Col. Levent Gülman and Lt. Col. Halil Özsaraç, be released pending trial.

A higher court, however, agreed to free the soldiers after the lawyers again petitioned for their release.

The 12th court in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district chose in June to merge the cases investigating the Cage Plan and the munitions dump found in the city’s Poyrazköy neighborhood, saying the two cases were “related in terms of the law.”

The merging of the two cases was expected to affect the three top suspects in the alleged plot, namely Erakyol, Gülmen and Özsaraç.

The Cage allegations emerged in the wake of the Poyrazköy excavations in April 2009, in which investigators unearthed a large cache of ammunition.

In the Cage case, 33 suspects from the Turkish Navy are accused of planning actions to terrorize the country’s non-Muslim population in order to provoke Western powers to put pressure on the ruling government. The actions featured in the alleged plot include making threats via mail, phone calls and graffiti as well as setting off bombs and assassinating supporters of minority and non-Muslim rights groups.

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