Balyoz convicts demand retrial upon expert report on altered evidence

Balyoz convicts demand retrial upon expert report on altered evidence

Twelve people convicted in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot case have demanded a retrial, on the grounds that a recent expert report revealed that key evidence in the trial had been altered.

Lawyer Mahir Işıkay filed a petition to the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court demanding the retrial of 12 military officers, including Ali Demir, Erdinç Atik, Yusuf Kelleli and Hüseyin Özçaban, who were sentenced to between 16 and 18 years in prison, Cihan news agency reported on Jan. 27. 

Işıkay said in his petition that an “organization inside the state” had prepared the digital files against the defendants and demanded the retrial of his clients. 

Turkey’s science watchdog, TÜBİTAK, stated in a report released on Jan. 25 that the date and time of key files on a hard drive found during searches conducted in December 2010 at the Gölcük Navy Command had been modified. The same files were one of the main foundations of the coup-plot charges in the Balyoz trial indictments. 

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç stressed on Jan. 27 that TÜBİTAK had yet to publish the report, responding to reporters’ questions after the weekly Cabinet meeting. “Have you seen the original of this report? I haven’t seen it ... TÜBİTAK has not made any statements about this issue as far as I know ... But a retrial might be discussed if key evidence of a trial turns out to be fake after the case is concluded,” Arınç said.