Top court: Rights of all suspects violated in ‘military espionage’ case

Top court: Rights of all suspects violated in ‘military espionage’ case

Top court: Rights of all suspects violated in ‘military espionage’ case

CHP’s Veli Ağbaba is seen holding a press conference with ‘military espionage’ families in this file photo. Hürriye Photo / Selahattin Sönmez

Turkey’s top court has ruled that the rights of all 46 people convicted in a controversial so-called military espionage case and charged with membership of an illegal organization were violated.

The General Assembly of the Constitutional Court merged individual applications by the convicts in the case and ruled unanimously that their rights were violated, Anadolu Agency reported on Jan. 9.

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 blackmailing. The charges brought against them included illegal wiretapping, founding a criminal organization, and espionage. The indictment alleged THAT the accused 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 local court’s decision was subsequently approved by the 9th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Upon the release of the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Jan. 9, Hüseyin Ersöz, a lawyer for the applicants, appealed to a local heavy penal court in Istanbul for the release of the jailed convicts, that their arrest orders be dropped, and for a stay of execution of imprisonment.