Yusuf Kurt, a purge-victim military cadet who was sentenced to life in prison after the 2016 coup attempt, died of cancer a year ago today in İstanbul’s notorious Silivri prison.

Kurt was among the 259 military cadets who were detained on coup charges on July 16, 2016 and were jailed pending trial four days later. On January 19, 2018, he, along with 37 of his friends, was given life sentences on charges of attempting to overturn the constitutional order and attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and parliament by use of force as well as membership in a terrorist organization.  Months after the diagnosis, Kurt was reportedly released from prison under supervision, however soon passed away.

The cadets say they had no information about a coup attempt unfolding and were acting on orders from their superiors, who told them there was a terrorist attack.

The military coup attempt killed 251 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the abortive putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen group. The group denies any involvement in the attempt.