Widow of fallen Turkish soldier sentenced to prison over Gülen links

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Sezen Ataş, the widow of Lt. Murat Ataş, who was killed in October 2016 in a terrorist attack carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was sentenced to six years, 10 months in prison for “membership in a terrorist organization” due to her links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the TR724 news website reported on Wednesday.

Ataş’s trial was heard by the Bursa 6th High Criminal Court, which ruled she was guilty of terrorism based on witness statements and her alleged use of ByLock, a mobile messaging app Turkish authorities claim was used exclusively by Gülen sympathizers.

Gülen-linked people from all walks of life frequently face terrorism-related charges as Turkey accuses the movement of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement.

The court hearing Ataş’s trial also made an inquiry with the relevant authorities to determine whether she and her late husband had an account at Bank Asya, a Gülen-linked bank that was confiscated and subsequently shut down by the Turkish government.

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