All suspects in military espionage case acquitted
ISTANBULAn Istanbul court ruled Jan. 29 on the acquittal of all 56 suspects in the re-trial of a military espionage case following a Constitutional Court decision, which said the rights of the suspects, whom included ranking soldiers, had been violated during the initial trial.
The court pointed at irregularities during the evidence gathering processes and said it decided the suspects were not involved in the attributed crimes, such as spying, illegal wiretapping and damage to state security-linked documents.
Back in early 2011, the Istanbul 11th Heavy Penal Court accepted an indictment prosecuting 56 members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on charges of military espionage and blackmail. The indictment alleged the accused soldiers intended to share information with third parties in return for financial gain.
Eventually, in August 2012, the court acquitted all suspects of the espionage charges. However, it charged 46 of the suspects with “membership of an [illegal] organization,” violation of the right to private life and obtaining classified information. It sentenced the 46 suspects to prison terms ranging from one year to 15-and-a-half years. Retired Colonel İbrahim Sezer, Rear Admiral Şafak Yürekli and Yücel Çipli, a department chief for the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), were among those convicted.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the rights of all 46 people convicted in the controversial so-called military espionage case and charged with membership of an illegal organization had been violated.
The court also ruled on the return of a number of DVD’s and CD’s, which had been kept by the prosecutors as evidence, to their owners.
The 5th Heavy Penalty Court in Istanbul also said the suspects could launch cases seeking damages over unfair detentions and arrests.
Sezer said after the court decision they had been acquitted in the “first fair trial.”