Former Turkish colonel to be compensated over unfair jailing

Former Turkish colonel to be compensated over unfair jailing

Burcu Purtul Uçar – ANKARA
Former Turkish colonel to be compensated over unfair jailing A court has ruled that a former colonel should receive 53,000 Turkish Liras in compensation for being unfairly jailed in the case into the alleged “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup plot targeting the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

A court of serious crimes in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district ruled for former colonel Berna Dönmez to receive 53,000 liras in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages after she was held unjustly in jail for 21 months. 

The alleged “Balyoz” coup plot included drastic measures to foment unrest in Turkey in order to remove the AKP from power. However, it has since emerged that much of the evidence in the case was fabricated.

Dönmez, who was the only woman suspect in the case, described her time behind bars as “a nightmare.”

“I was put into a civil jail as I was retired at the time of the arrest then. I had to live with real criminals. It was a very difficult time for me and I had no one to share my sorrow with. I lived in a room unable to even go out to the courtyard for 21 months. I also had health problems with my eyes,” she said.

Since the ruling, a judge has registered opposition to the decision, demanding that a higher amount of compensation be paid to Dönmez, considering her personal and social status and the public image of the discredited “Balyoz” case.

Dönmez was sentenced to 16 years in jail on the charge of “an incomplete attempt to stage a coup” in September 2012. She was discharged June 2014 upon a Constitutional Court ruling that said the case against Dönmez was “a violation of the right to retrial,” before being acquitted by the 4th Anatolian Court of Serious Crimes.