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Turkish 1980 coup leader sentenced to life

A Turkish court has sentenced the leader of 1980 military coup to life imprisonment, Anadolu news agency reported Wednesday.

Kenan Evren, 97, led the 1980 military overthrow of the civilian government and served as president until 1989. His rule was marred by the arrest of over 650,000 opponents, trials of 230,000 civilians before military courts, and the death of 300 prisoners in jail, 171 of whom died of torture, according to official figures.

Evren, along with his partner Tahsin Sahinkaya, have been sentenced to 25 years in prison, 30 years after their coup.

Evren, born on July 17, 1917, served as the seventh president of Turkey from November 9,1982 till November 9, 1989. He was the de facto president of the country following his coup on September 12, 1980 until he was officially elected as president on November 9, 1982.

Following the coup, Evren dissolved the parliament, suspended the constitution, and disbanded political parties. He justified his move as a counter-terrorism measure, and as part of the struggle against communists, fascists and religious extremists.

While most of the politicians who fell victim to Evren's coup have passed away, he remained alive until the moment of his prosecution.

During Evren's trial, hundreds of protesters gathered at the court to demand retribution for the coup victims. Some held pictures of their relatives who died in jail during Evren's repressive reign.

 

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