Turkish court rules to release Zirve suspect Gen. Tolon

Turkish court rules to release Zirve suspect Gen. Tolon
# 10 June 2014 20:22 (UTC +04:00)

Tolon's lawyer, Ä°lkay Sezer, asked the Malatya High Criminal Court to release Tolon, two months after the Ä°stanbul 21st High Criminal Court ruled for him to be released from his status as a suspect in Ergenekon gang case.

Despite a ruling for his release in March from the Ergenekon case, Tolon remained in prison for his suspected role in the Zirve killings.

Three Christians -- two Turks and one German national -- were killed on April 18, 2007 in Malatya inside the Zirve Publishing House. In March, the five primary suspects, who had been in prison for the past seven years in connection with the murders, were released after the government made changes to the Counterterrorism Law (TMK), limiting the maximum time a defendant can be held without a final conviction to five years, prompting outrage across the nation, including a protest by Turkish President Abdullah Gül.

The suspects' release came at a time when the Malatya 3rd Higher Criminal Court was close to announcing its final verdict. The prosecutor had claimed that the Zirve murders, as well as the murder of Father Andrea Santoro in Trabzon in 2006 and the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, were orchestrated by a clandestine military organization called the National Strategies and Operations Department of Turkey (TUSHAD), allegedly established by retired Gen. HurÅŸit Tolon in 1993.

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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED