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Indictment seeks lifetime imprisonment for jailed journalist Avcı

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An indictment which has been prepared against journalist and retired public prosecutor Gültekin Avcı seeks a life sentence and an additional jail term of up to 75 years for him due to his views in six of his articles.

Avcı was arrested last September on thin accusations of “establishing a terrorist group” and “plotting to topple the government” based solely on views expressed in his columns in the Bugün daily about the Iran-backed Tawhid Salam organization, which was designated a terrorist organization in a local court’s ruling that was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals in 2014.

Prosecutors charged Avcı in connection with a series of columns he wrote in 2013 and 2014 for Bugün in which he alleged that the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the country’s spy agency, had links to a group called Tawhid-Salam.

The indictment against Avcı has been sent to İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court after it was approved by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’ Office.

In another development, Professor Sedat Laçiner who was the former rector of Çanakkale 18 Mart University told news outlets over the weekend that a total of 103 investigations have been filed against him over the past one year due to his views critical of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.

Laçiner is a renowned academic in Turkey specializing in international relations, security and Middle East politics.

“This is a record number,” he said, adding that a total of 18 investigations were launched against him in a single day.

Laçiner was arrested for several days in late 2015 as part of a Çanakkale-based police operation targeting the so-called “parallel structure .”

The term parallel structure was invented by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refer to alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement within the state bureaucracy, after a corruption investigation that targeted people in his inner circle in December 2013, which Erdoğan blames on the movement.

Erdoğan promised a war against the movement and infamously said he would even carry out a “witch hunt” against it.

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