Former top court member given lengthy jail sentence on terrorism charges

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Mehmet Uslu, a former member of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals, has been handed down a jail sentence of 13 years, six months on terrorism charges due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, the T24 news website reported on Tuesday.

The trial of former members of Turkey’s top courts who were expelled from their posts and then jailed in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016 continued at the 9th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals on Tuesday.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

During Tuesday’s hearing Uslu denied the accusations against him and asked for his acquittal, but the court handed down the lengthy sentence to him on charges of membership in a terrorist organization. The court did not reduce the sentence on the grounds that Uslu did not show any signs of remorse during the trial.

Uslu is accused of using ByLock, a smart phone application that is believed by Turkish authorities to be the main communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement.

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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