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Court Sentences 34 To Life Over Alleged Attempt To Kill Erdogan During Coup

An unidentified soldier accused of attempting to assassinate Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during last year's failed July 15 coup, is escorted by police as he arrives at the final hearing of his trial in Mugla on October 4.

A Turkish court sentenced 34 defendants to life in prison on October 4 after convicting them on charges that include attempting to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during last year's failed coup, state television channel TRT reported.

A total of 46 suspects have been on trial since February in the southwestern city of Mugla, facing accusations of attempted assassination, violation of the constitution, and other crimes against the state during the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Thirty-seven of the accused are former military personnel.

Authorities say the defendants were accused of attacking a hotel in the resort of Marmaris where Erdogan was staying, killing two policemen. Erdogan had left the hotel shortly before it was stormed.

One of those sentenced is Gokhan Sahin Sonmezates, a general accused of being part of the group that organized the coup, TRT reported. It said that one defendant, a former lieutenant-colonel, was acquitted.

There was no immediate word on the status of the other defendants.

Erdogan and his government accuse U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the coup and is seeking his extradition.

Gulen, whose followers are accused of infiltrating the military and other state institutions, denies the accusations.

The in-absentia trial of Gulen and two other defendants who are not in Turkish custody will continue separately, TRT reported.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and dpa