Seventy-one Turkish military students, who had been sentenced to life in prison for taking part in the failed July 2016 coup, were released following a decision by the Court of Appeals, Turkish media reported.
A total of 355 military students were arrested after the coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan, which was accompanied by pogroms in the army ranks.
Since then, they have remained in prison sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Court of Appeals today overturned the convictions of 116 of them and ordered the release of 71 detainees, confirmed Cemil Cicek, a lawyer who is closely monitoring the progress of the cases.
The appeal of the appeals concerning the others continues.
Their relatives have been protesting their imprisonment for years, saying that military students had no way of resisting the orders they received.
“They were convicted on the basis of empty files. Their innocence has been proven, but they have been robbed of six years of their lives,” said opposition lawmaker Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, who has systematically raised the issue in the Turkish parliament.
During the coup attempt on the night of July 15-16, 2016, 251 people were officially killed outside the coup, and more than 2,000 were injured.
The event provided an opportunity for an extensive pogrom in Turkish society and led to the strengthening of Erdogan’s powers.
Turkish courts have so far convicted 4,891 people on charges of involvement in the coup and imposed life sentences on about 3,000 of those charged.