Turkish authorities detain 6 female students a second time for links to Gülen movement

Turkish authorities on Wednesday once again detained six female students for alleged links to the Gülen movement shortly after they were released from detention earlier the same day, the Bold Medya news website reported.

The students were taken to northwestern Turkey’s Karabük police headquarters for further questioning. Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said on Twitter the detentions were a serious miscarriage of justice.

On May 12 authorities detained 14 female students in Karabük after a police raid on their homes for alleged links to the movement. The students were held in detention for a week, after which three were arrested and 11 were released under judicial supervision. However, shortly after their release, the prosecutor ordered that six of the students be detained again.

According to their families, the students were reportedly pressured to confess their links to the movement during questioning, saying some suffered panic attacks and had to be hospitalized.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, 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 a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

According to a statement from the Turkish interior minister, a total of 319,587 people have been detained while 99,962 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup.

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