Turkish high court begins hearing appeals arguments in coup plot trial

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An appeals court in Turkey is hearing arguments in the case of more than 300 military officers — including the former air force and navy chiefs — convicted of plotting to overthrow the Islamic-based government in 2003.

The officers were convicted in September in a historic case that has helped curtailed the military's hold on politics. The officers received prison sentences ranging between six and 20 years.

Lawyers on Monday began presenting their appeals arguments. The hearings are expected to last for days.

The trial has been hailed as a break with a tradition of military impunity and a move toward greater democracy. But it has also been marred by judicial flaws, including allegation of fabricated evidence. Critics say the trial is a ploy to intimidate secular opponents.