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Turkey: Suspect released in Russian envoy murder case

ANKARA, TURKEY: Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov (R) gives a speech as he visits an art fair at Modern Art Center in Ankara, on 19 December 2016. Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov has been shot multiple times when an armed assailant opened fire on him. The envoy was seriously wounded and was taken to hospital immediately. [Ecenur Çolak/Anadolu Agency]
Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov (R) gives a speech as he visits an art fair at Modern Art Center in Ankara, on 19 December 2016 [Ecenur Çolak/Anadolu Agency]

A Turkish court Tuesday ordered the release of a defendant on probation in the case over the assassination of Russia’s ambassador in Turkey, Andrei Karlov, reports Anadolu Agency.

The 2nd Heavy Penal Court in the capital Ankara ruled the probation of Ayse Sogut, who was among 28 defendants standing trial in the 2016 assassination of Andrei Karlov.

She was the wife of Sahin Sogut, the leader of Mevlut Mert Altintas, a Gulen supporter.

Altintas – an off-duty police officer linked to Gulen – killed Karlov at an Ankara art gallery opening on December 19, 2016. During a standoff, Altintas was shot dead by police.

Before her release, Ayse Sogut was pending trial behind bars for ten months. She sought her release, citing the care of her children.

Sogut was released on condition that she will wear an electronic bracelet without leaving her home.

On January 8, 28 suspects went on trial in Ankara over the December 2016 assassination of the Russian ambassador.

Twenty-eight suspects – including Fetullah Gulen – were indicted for violating the constitutional order, being a member of a terror group, and murder with terrorist intent.

READ: US dismisses claims it supported Russian envoy killing

In December, the court had accepted the indictment that recommended various jail terms – including aggravated life sentences – for 28 suspects, including Gulen.

The indictment stated that the group plotted the murder – originally planned for June – as a “provocation” to harm Turkish-Russian relations ahead of the defeated coup of July 2016 as well as to sow chaos in Turkey.

Fetullah Gulen and his supporters are being accused of having orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses Gulen and his supporters of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

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