More top Ergenekon suspects released, including retired general Veli Küçük
Tuncer Kılınç, a former secretary-general of the National Security Council, was released in the Ergenekon coup plot case March 11. AA photoUp to 17 people were released by separate courts who ruled for a second day on the detentions of the top suspects in the Ergenekon coup plot case.
Those released included retired Gen. Veli Küçük, one of the suspects considered as key in the case, retired Gen. Hurşit Tolon and Tuncer Kılınç, a former secretary-general of the National Security Council.
Other 20 suspects were released March 10 by rulings in separate courts, including retired generals Hasan Iğsız and Şener Eruygur, retired Col. Dursun Çiçek, former Workers' Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek, Prof. Yalçın Küçük, journalist Tuncay Özkan and alleged gang leader Sedat Peker.
A court also ordered the release of Alparslan Aslan March 10, identified during the Ergenekon trial as the assailant in the Turkish Council of State attack in 2006 that killed a judge.
Çiçek, whose conviction in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) trial was upheld after an appeal, will not be freed, while Aslan's and Peker’s releases from prison are uncertain as they are also serving previous sentences.
Tolon will not be freed from jail either as he was also detained as part of the investigation into the Zirve murders of three Christian missionaries in Malatya.
The rulings came amid controversy over the legal authority for the releases as the court overseeing the Ergenekon case rejects the release decisions.
The Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court, a former specially authorized court, ruled that the continued detention of the Ergenekon suspects while the appeal process was continuing was in line with Turkish legislation.
But the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors said the court had no longer any authority to hand rulings as the specially authorized courts were recently abolished by a new law approved by the Parliament.
The lawyers applied to other High Criminal Courts in Istanbul for the releases, instead of the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court, after Parliament recently abolished the special authorized courts.
The releases were made possible with the change in the country’s anti-terrorism laws, which reduced the maximum pre-trial detention period from 10 years to five years.