Hanefi Avcı, a former police chief from Eskişehir province, has been sentenced to 15 years and three month in prison in a case concerning the ultra-leftist Revolutionary Headquarters terrorist organization.
The İstanbul 12th High Criminal Court in 2011 ruled to merge a trial involving 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 were demanding prison sentences ranging from seven-and-a-half years to life for the suspects.
The İstanbul 9th High Criminal Court on Friday announced its verdict in the case, which had 75 suspects in total, and sentenced Avcı to 15 years and three months in prison on four separate charges including aiding and abetting members of a terrorist organization.
The court acquitted 24 suspects in the case on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization.
Avcı came to prominence with his 2010 book “Haliç'te Yaşayan Simonlar” (Simons in the Golden Horn). In the book, which experts on criminal law have dismissed as biased, Avcı argues that ongoing criminal investigations aimed at confronting illegal activities within the state, including the probe into Ergenekon -- an alleged clandestine criminal network charged with plotting to overthrow the government -- lack evidence and are based on illegal wiretapping. However, it is well documented that the telephone conversations of Ergenekon suspects were legitimately wiretapped by prosecutors overseeing the probe on court orders.
The court on Friday also found Avcı guilty of trying to influence trials concerning terror cases in his book.