69-year-old professor convicted of Gülen links dies in prison

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Professor Sabri Çolak, 69, who was jailed in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, died on Thursday night at a prison in eastern Turkey where he had been jailed for 25 months.

Çolak stood trial at the Erzurum 3rd High Criminal Court and was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years on charges of membership in a terrorist organization on April 17.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the coup attempt and labels it as a terrorist organization, although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt and any terrorist activity.

Çolak was retired and had previously taught at the engineering faculty of Atatürk University in Erzurum.

The retired professor passed away at the Van High Security Prison where he had been jailed since July 22, 2016.

Çolak reportedly suffered from heart problems.

The professor’s body will be returned to his family after an autopsy, and he will be laid to rest in his hometown of Erzurum.

More than 30 individuals, among whom are police officers, prosecutors and teachers, have been found dead in Turkish prisons since the failed coup attempt in 2016, causing serious concern about the fate of thousands of civilians who have been kept in jail in poor conditions across the country.

More than 160,000 people have spent time in police custody over Gülen links since the summer of 2016.

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