[UPDATE ] Prosecutor appeals court ruling to release Turkish comedian Demirci

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Comedian Atalay Demirci

The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office has appealed a Thursday court decision to release on judicial probation Turkish comedian Atalay Demirci, who was arrested in August 2016 accused of membership in a terrorist organization and attempting to destroy the constitutional order, Cumhuriyet reported.

An indictment drafted by the prosecutor’s office sought a life sentence and an additional sentence of up to 10 years, to be served consecutively for the comedian on charges of alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by Turkish authorities of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

In the indictment Twitter messages between Demirci and former Turkish football player Hakan Şükür and Enes Kanter, a Turkish basketball player in the NBA, who are also accused of links to the Gülen movement, are cited as evidence for Demirci’s ties to the faith-based group.

The movement denies any involvement in the coup attempt yet 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’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15.

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