[JURIST] The High Criminal Court in Istanbul, Turkey, Thursday continued the trial of those accused of attempting to destabilize and overthrow the government of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website]. Turkish prosecutors have charged 86 people with involvement in the attempted coup, but Thursday's proceedings were limited to the 46 defendants who are being held in custody. The trial opened Monday [JURIST report] but was adjourned due to overcrowding and 'chaos' in the courtroom [AP report]. The court concluded that the remaining 40 defendants - who are free on bail - will be present at the next hearing due to defense objections to the trial proceeding in two separate groups. AP has more.
The accused are said to belong to the secular Ergenekon [BBC backgrounder] group, believed responsible for bombing the headquarters of the newspaper Cumhuriyet [media website, in Turkish], assassinating Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], and planning other attacks to provoke a military coup to topple the AKP. Among those on trial are journalists, intellectuals, and Turkish Workers' Party [party website, in Turkish] leader Dogu Perincek [personal website, in Turkish; JURIST report]. Critics allege that the AKP has improperly investigated secular groups as part of a drive to impose Islamic principles [Ha'aretz report] on the country in violation of the country's secular constitution.