June 20 (UPI) -- A Turkish court issued life sentences to 24 people Thursday who were convicted of trying to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a failed military coup three years ago.
The majority of them, 17, will serve harder prison time for more serious charges, including "violating the constitution" and "attempting to assassinate the president," state-run media Anadolu reported.
"The Turkish judiciary has set a great example of justice," Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said. "Nobody will be able to eliminate democracy and that national will in Turkey."
The group includes former Air Force Chief Azin Ozturk and Mehmet Disli, the brother of former ruling party politician Saban Disli. Col. Ali Yazici, a former military aide to Erdogan, was among those sentenced to life.
Families of the 139 people who died in the July 2016 coup attempt were not allowed in the courtroom for Thursday's sentencing.
"The state should be ashamed," Saliha Arigan, whose son was among the dead, said.
More verdicts are coming for others also prosecuted by the government -- including U.S.-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who's accused of orchestrating of the coup attempt. Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, is being tried in absentia.