Prosecutor asks for double life sentences for coup leaders

Prosecutor asks for double life sentences for coup leaders
Prosecutor asks for double life sentences for coup leaders

Kenan Evren. DHA photo

A specially authorized Ankara prosecutor demanded today consecutive life sentences for each of Gen. Kenan Evren and Gen. Tahsin Şahinkaya, the only leaders of the 1980 military coup still alive. 

Victims of the 1980 coup had filed petitions after the generals’ immunity was lifted following the approval of government-led constitutional amendments in a Sept. 12, 2010, referendum. 

The indictment said Evren and Şahinkaya were responsible for inciting massacres in the provinces of Çorum and Kahramanmaraş to prepare the basis for the coup, adding that the Armed Forces were purposefully prevented from stopping the violence.  

Prosecutor Kemal Çetin indicated Evren's post-coup statement, "We waited for the groundwork to be ready [to topple the government]," as primary evidence for their alleged crimes. 

Şahinkaya, 86, and Evren, 94, are the only surviving members of Evren’s five-man junta that seized power in 1980. 

Çetin demanded double life sentences for Evren and Şahinkaya, charging them with "annulling the Constitution and dissolving the Parliament of the Turkish Republic through the use of force," and "toppling the government or preventing it from operating through the use of force." 

During the 1980 coup period, 650,000 people were taken into custody and 230,000 were put on trial. Military prosecutors demanded the capital punishment for 7,000 people; 517 of them received the death penalty and 50 were hanged. 

Military rulers revoked the citizenship of more than 14,000 Turks while another 30,000 left the country to seek refugee abroad. 

Some 299 prison inmates also died of “undetermined” reasons while another 14 died while from hunger strikes. Torture by security forces reportedly claimed another 171 lives.