Judge who upheld verdicts in match-fixing trial given lengthy sentence

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A former judge at Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals who in 2014 upheld sentences given to the defendants in a match-fixing trial has been handed down a prison sentence of 12 years due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkish media reported on Wednesday.

Former judge Mesut Kundakçı was given the lengthy jail sentence on terrorism charges since the Turkish government designates the movement as a terrorist organization.

The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding a failed coup and terrorism, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

The match-fixing came to public attention in July 2011 when police teams rounded up dozens of suspects implicated in a scandal involving then-Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım.

In 2012 Yıldırım was convicted of fixing six matches and offering payments to players or club officials. There were some 90 other defendants in the trial. Several officials were also found guilty. They appealed the verdicts, and the Supreme Court of Appeals’ 5th Chamber of Commerce, where Kundakçı was a judge at the time, upheld some of the lower court’s decisions for the match-fixing trial defendants including that of Yıldırım.

Years later, the Turkish government claimed the match-fixing trial was masterminded by followers of the Gülen movement in the state bureaucracy and the judiciary. The claim is denied by the movement.

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