[UPDATE] Turkish religious foundation chair Kuytul rearrested

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Alparslan Kuytul

A Turkish court on Saturday morning ordered the rearrest of Alparslan Kuytul, the chairman of a religious foundation, after a prosecutor appealed the previous ruling.

He was released pending trial by the Adana 4th High Criminal Court on Thursday subject to a travel ban.

“[The government] doesn’t like a cleric like me. They want clerics to talk about prayers only. They don’t want criticism,” Kuytul told reporters outside the prison after his release.

Furkan Foundation chair Kuytul, a fierce critic of the incumbent Justice and Development Party (AKP) in his speeches, was first detained in February for allegedly spreading the propaganda of the Gülen movement and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

He faces a sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted.

Since a failed coup on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government has jailed its critics on terrorist propaganda charges, using speeches, social media posts and newspaper columns as evidence.

As the government accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating the abortive putsch, although the movement strongly denies it, many prominent figures in the country have been charged with supporting the movement.

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