Ergenekon coup plot case convict Lieutenant Çelebi sent to prison
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Lt. Mehmet Ali Çelebi (C), who had been detained as part of the Ergenekon coup plot trial for 2.5 years between 2008 and 2011, surrendered at an Istanbul courthouse to serve his time of 16 years and six months. AA photoA convict of the Ergenekon coup plot case, Lt. Mehmet Ali Çelebi, surrendered to serve his time and was arrested Aug. 14.
Çelebi, who had been detained as part of the Ergenekon coup plot trial for 2.5 years between 2008 and 2011, surrendered at an Istanbul courthouse to serve his time of 16 years and six months. The courthouse ruled to send Çelebi to prison on grounds of “being a member of the Ergenekon armed terror organization and distributing or seizing data illegally.”
Çelebi, who is also a helicopter pilot in addition to being an infantry officer, was first arrested in September 2008. The prosecutor had accused Çelebi of keeping phone numbers of members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir terror organization on his cell phone. A report from Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) had proved that the 139 telephone numbers belonging to the members of the terrorist organization that were the main reference point for the allegations against Çelebi had been uploaded to Çelebi’s cell phone all together in one minute and one second and they were the last numbers to be saved.
The report also showed that Çelebi’s cell phone had sent signals for one minute and 22 seconds to the Fatih base station, the neighborhood in which the Istanbul Police Directorate is located, on Sept. 19, 2008, the day when Çelebi’s cell phone was handed in to the police officers at the directorate. An expert report showed that the cell phone was delivered to the expert, who would investigate the cell phone’s activities, five hours after the signals were received from the police directorate, during which time the cell phone should have been kept untouched in a sealed bag.
Çelebi was released in May 2011 on grounds that the “classification of offense could have changed.” In the case’s verdict, handed down on Aug. 5, Çelebi was sentenced to 16 years and six months and the sentence was not abated.
Serkan Gürel, Çelebi’s attorney, said nothing had changed since Çelebi’s release and that they left the decision to the Turkish nation.
“In the past 26 months no new evidence was put into the case [for Çelebi.] No new allegations have been put forth against him. Nothing has changed since the day he was released. Even though there is no suspicion of escaping or obfuscating the evidence, Çelebi is wanted to be arrested in accordance with the 16-year sentence, which we cannot make sense of,” said Gürel.
Çelebi, before surrendering, said he was innocent and that he trusted only his innocence. “We are sure this will end with justice. We accept this as a new duty. The truth advances, it will gain victory sooner or later. These prices we pay will be a reason for awakening for our nation,” said Çelebi.