Court rules to continue pretrial detention of visually impaired teacher jailed on Gülen links

A Turkish court has ruled to continue the pretrial detention of Mustafa Seçkin, a teacher who was arrested on alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement despite suffering from almost total vision loss as well as cardiac disease and hypertension, journalist Sevinç Özarslan reported on Tuesday.

“Mustafa Seçkin appeared at his third hearing today,” Özarslan wrote on social media. “They still haven’t released the ailing man.”

Seçkin was arrested in November 2023 as part of a countrywide police operation against the Gülen movement.

He is facing terrorism-related charges due to his work for Gülen-affiliated tutoring centers and for having sent his children to private schools that were shut down over their links to the movement.

Family members and rights groups have repeatedly highlighted his vulnerable health condition, calling for his release from pretrial detention.

The former teacher is suffering from a rare eye condition called macular dystrophy, which causes vision loss.

Incarcerated in the eastern province of Elazığ, he is reportedly unable to take proper care of himself in prison or perform even the most basic functions without help from others.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Gülen, since the 2013 corruption investigations, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

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