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Turkish activists brace for ruling in landmark protest trial

Defendants charged with attempting to topple the Turkish government during mass 2013 protests return to court next week and verdict is expected soon after the prosecutor asked for life sentences for three of the accused.
People shout slogans during a demonstration to mark the fifth anniversary of Gezi Park protests, in central Istanbul, Turkey May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RC1316539760

ISTANBUL — Defendants facing lengthy prison sentences for allegedly trying to overthrow the Turkish government with an environmental protest and their supporters said on Tuesday they expect a verdict in the long-running trial soon and accused the government of using the case to criminalize opposition voices.

A prosecutor last week asked the Istanbul court in a formal legal opinion to sentence three of the 16 defendants to solitary confinement for the rest of their lives for allegedly organizing demonstrations in 2013 to save central Istanbul’s Gezi Park, where the government wanted to build a shopping mall. At least eight people were killed in the police crackdown.

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