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Journalist sentenced to seven-and-a-half years over Gülen links

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The İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced journalist Harun Çümen to seven-and-a-half years in prison on charges of membership in the Gülen movement, which is accused of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, although it strongly denies any involvement.

Çümen, who was working for the now-closed-down Zaman daily, had been in pretrial detention for 16 months, according to the Kronos news website.

The court ruled for the continuation of his incarceration while the verdict is appealed.

As part of a crackdown targeting the Gülen movement, Turkey has closed dozens of media organizations as well as putting hundreds of journalists behind bars.

“I am 44 years old, and I’ve never committed an unlawful act in my entire life,” Çümen said in his defense.

Turkey was ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released in April by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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