Turkish court sentences 13 lawyers to 1 to 10 years in jail

A Turkish court in Samsun province gave sentences to 13 lawyers in varying lengths of prison terms over their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Thursday.

A total of 24 lawyers, under pre-trial detention for 21 months over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement, appeared before a Samsun court for their final hearing, media reported May 16.

The court overseeing their case handed down 10,5 years of prison sentence to a lawyer; 7,5 years to another one; 6 years and 3 months to 4 others. Meanwhile, the remaining six lawyers were given 1 year and 6 months plus 22 days in prison. All the convictions were made on charges of membership to the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government has prosecuted 1,539 lawyers, arrested 580 and sentenced 103 lawyers to long prison terms since a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to a report released by The Arrested Lawyers Initiative in April 2018.

Meanwhile, 21 people in Turkey’s Afyon province were jailed pending trial over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement, reported by Habertürk daily on Friday. On May 9, Turkish police carried out operations at 28 locations in Afyon in order to detain 36 people suspected of links with the Gülen movement. At least 34 people were rounded up during the operations that mostly targeted those who have been in hiding in the face of the Turkish government’s post-coup crackdown against Gülen movement.

Moreover, a 34-year-old man, identified only with his initials A.K., has been detained in Adana province during a visit to his relative in prison, in pre-trial detention over alleged ties to the Gülen movement, Turkish media reported on Thursday. It turns out A.K., himself, had an outstanding detention warrant, issued by a prosecutor in the neighboring province of Mersin on charges of membership to the movement.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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