Turkish Minute

Religious cult leader faces 1,365 years in prison

Turkish police officers escort televangelist and leader of a sect, Adnan Oktar (C) on July 11, 2018, in Istanbul, as he is arrested on fraud charges. Turkish police detained the televangelist on fraud charges on July 11, 2018, notorious for propagating conservative views while surrounded by scantily-clad women he refers to as his "kittens". / AFP PHOTO / DOGAN NEWS AGENCY /

A prosecutor in a court case against a religious cult has demanded up to 1,365 years in prison for cult leader Adnan Oktar on various charges, including sexual assault and extortion, Turkish media reported on Friday.

Oktar faces charges of espionage, child abuse, establishing and leading a criminal network, sexual assault, false imprisonment, forgery, fraud and extortion.

The prosecutor also demanded prison sentences ranging from five to 396 years for the 222 defendants in the case, most of them Oktar’s disciples or associates of the cult.

Oktar and 150 of his followers were first detained in July 2018. Oktar’s assets were seized the same day.

A controversial TV personality, Oktar used to mix theological discussions on air with visits from attractive young female devotees dubbed “kittens.”

He was best known for his strong advocacy for creationism, and many of his publications and televised discussions were aimed at refuting the theory of evolution.

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