​Turkish MP takes oath after freed in coup plot case

December 11, 2013 - 7:41:16 am

ANKARA: Turkish journalist Mustafa Balbay took his oath of office as a member of parliament yesterday after his release from nearly five years in prison on security charges, raising hope among other jailed deputies that they could follow in his footsteps.

He was among 275 defendants including an ex-military chief, retired officers, academics, journalists and politicians jailed in August over an alleged plot to overthrow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted government.

Balbay, sentenced to almost 35 years in prison, was freed pending appeal by an Istanbul court after the Constitutional Court ruled his pre-trial detention period of more than four years had violated his rights. Balbay’s wife and two children, seated in the spectators’ gallery in the parliament, smiled and clapped as he read the oath. Many opposition MPs gave Balbay a standing ovation.

Turkey charges 255 over protests

ISTANBUL: Turkish prosecutors said they have charged 255 protesters, including seven foreigners, over mass demonstrations that swept the country in June. Those indicted face a range of charges including violating laws on demonstrations, damaging a place of worship and protecting criminals, as well as injuring civil servants and hijacking public transport vehicles, a statement from the Istanbul public prosecutor’s office said.

It did not disclose the nationalities of the foreigners. At least six people died and 8,000 people were injured in anti-government unrest that posed the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule yet.AFP

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