Jailed purge victim Evren Civelek, who lost his two daughters, aged 3 and 8, mother and father-in-law last month in an auto accident on the way home from a prison visit, was sentenced to 25 years, six months in prison on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “leading a terrorist organization,” Medya Bold reported on Thursday.
The Ankara 13th High Criminal Court handed down the verdict despite a medical report previously submitted by his lawyer warning of a significant risk of suicide. Moreover, the sentence was almost double the penalty sought in the indictment.
Law experts argue that a defendant cannot be convicted of membership in an outlawed organization and leading an outlawed organization in the same verdict.
According to the court decision, the panel of judges found Civelek guilty of working at a student dormitory affiliated with faith-based Gülen movement in the Beypazarı district of Ankara and allegedly leading the local activities of the movement there, 13 years ago when he was in his 20s.
Ironically, Civelek had applied for a teaching position with the Ministry of Education, and his application was accepted after a thorough security investigation following a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that kicked off a relentless witch-hunt against Gülen movement members across the country.
Civelek’s wife, Hatice, who was hospitalized with broken ribs and other injuries sustained in the accident, asked authorities to at least try her husband without keeping him in pretrial detention right after the accident, claiming his innocence. Mrs Civelek is also a purge victim.
Hundreds of thousands of Gülen movement supporters have been persecuted in Turkey on trumped up allegations of terrorist support since the July 2016 failed coup. (SCF, turkishminute.com)