Two former police officers sentenced to seven years for ‘bugging Erdoğan’
CİHAN photoTwo former police officers are each sentenced to seven years and six months in prison in case opened after bugs were found in the office and residence of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2011.
Former police officers Sedat Zavar and İlker Usta were sentenced to seven years and six months in prison in the case filed against a total of 13 people. Eight suspects are acquitted of all charges while the case on three other suspects was put aside.
Hasan Palaz, the former vice president of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), was among the eight suspects who were acquitted by the court.
The ruling was issued in the eight court hearing of the case headed by the Ankara 7th Court for Serious Crimes, in which Zavar and Usta appeared as defendants under arrest while TÜBİTAK’s former top executive Palaz appeared for another charge other than eavesdropping.
Erdoğan’s attorneys Muammer Cemaloğlu and Burhanettin Sevencan along with Sami Arslan Aşkın, an attorney from the Prime Ministry, were present in court.
The indictment against the defendants said the Erdoğan’s official residence during his time as prime minister was recorded between Nov. 24 and Dec. 29, 2011, and that his bureau in Ankara’s Keçiören district was recorded between Nov. 25 and Dec. 29 the same year.
In 2011, secret voice recorders were found in multiple power units in a number of searches of Erdoğan’s office in Keçiören, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters, the Prime Ministry’s Office and its official residence, the indictment said. The searches for the bugs were held by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) upon the approval of the Prime Ministry, it added.
The defendants Ali Özdoğan, Sedat Zavar, Serhat Demir, Ahmet Türer, Enes Çiğci and İlker Usta had previously been required to serve up to 36 years in prison for “eavesdropping on the prime minister for the purpose of political spying,” “violation of the private life of a public employee,” and “recording conversations between people.”
Other defendants, namely Harun Yavuz, İbrahim Sarı, Hurşit Gölbaşı, Seyit Saydam, Mehmet Yüksel, Zeki Bulut and Hasan Palaz were charged with helping to commit eavesdropping crimes.
Mehmet Sürer, an attorney representing the defendants, said the case lacked the necessary evidence for accusations.
“The bugs in question were imported from Denmark. To whom did the company give these bugs? This was not investigated. According to our inquiry into the issue, Rıza Sarraf is one of the shareholders of the importing company. Turkish intelligence could easily find the bugs in only one search,” he said.