An İstanbul court on Wednesday decided to release seven suspects in the ongoing trial of a leftist terrorist organization called the Revolutionary Headquarters, while the key suspect in the case, former Police Chief Hanefi Avcı, remains in jail.
The İstanbul 9th High Criminal Court, which is hearing the case, decided to release Hakan Soytemiz, Tamer Taş, Onur Erkut, Ağca Kaya, Tuncay Yılmaz, Ersin Sarıçam and Deniz Küçükbumin in consideration of their time spent behind bars.
The court refused to release 10 other suspects in the case, in addition to Avcı, on the grounds that there is strong evidence for their involvement in a criminal act. The trial was adjourned to Oct. 5.
The İstanbul 12th High Criminal Court last year ruled to merge a trial against 22 suspects, including Avcı, with the main case against the Revolutionary Headquarters at the İstanbul 9th High Criminal Court, in which suspects stand accused of links to a shootout between police and three Revolutionary Headquarters members at an apartment building in İstanbul in April 2009. The shootout left three dead and eight wounded. Police officer Semih Balaban, civilian Mazlum Şeker and alleged terrorist Orhan Yılmazkaya were killed in the clash.
Avcı was arrested in 2010 on charges of aiding and abetting a terrorist organization. Prosecutors are demanding prison sentences ranging from seven-and-a-half years to life for the shootout suspects. The indictment suggests that the Revolutionary Headquarters is part of Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network charged with plotting to overthrow the government.