15-year sentences sought for 33 lawyers due to alleged Gülen links

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An inside view from the Turkey's biggest court house, Çağlayan. PHOTO: Hürriyet

A public prosecutor has sought a prison sentence of 15 years for each of 33 lawyers on charges of membership in a terrorist organization due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, the T24 news website reported on Tuesday.

The Turkish government accuses the movement of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

On Tuesday the trial of 53 defendants, 52 of whom are lawyers, continued at the Ankara 22nd High Criminal Court. The defendants are accused of being part of the movement’s legal group.

Among the defendants is Nurullah Albayrak, lawyer for Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement. Albayrak resides outside of Turkey.

Normally, the minimum sentence sought for alleged members of terrorist organizations is seven-and-a-half years, but the prosecutor sought the maximum sentence for the lawyers, 15 years.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 50,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.

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