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Former civil servant gets close to 9 years for alleged ByLock use

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A civil servant who was removed from his job by a government decree has been handed down a jail sentence of eight years, nine months for using a smartphone application known as ByLock, Turkish media reports said on Wednesday.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool among alleged followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement.

The former civil servant, Fatih Çopur, attended the final hearing of his trial at the Kayseri 2nd High Criminal Court from prison via the IT Voice and Image System (SEGBİS).

In his defense, Çopur denied using ByLock and having any links to the Gülen movement.

“I am not a terrorist. I have worked with self-sacrifice all through my life. I have always stayed away from terrorism. Now, I am being tried facing terror charges. I am innocent,” Çopur said.

The panel of judges at the court gave him the lengthy prison sentence on charges of membership in a terrorist organization and ruled for the continuation of his imprisonment.

Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for allegedly using ByLock since the failed coup.

About 20,000 people had been detained over alleged links to the movement by the end of September 2018.

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