Turkey’s top appeals court has upheld a reduced sentence of three years, four months for a teacher who was abducted from Kenya last year due to his affiliation with the faith-based Gülen movement, the Birgün daily reported.
Selahaddin Gülen, a nephew of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, was brought back to Turkey by agents from Turkey’s intelligence agency (MIT) in May 2021. He was arrested in June by an Ankara court on charges of establishing and running an armed terrorist organization. In March, he was given a reduced sentence of three years, four months on charges of terrorist organization membership after he benefited from a repentance law.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a 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.
Selahaddin Gülen, who was initially given a prison sentence of 12 years on charges of terrorist organization membership, had his sentence reduced after the panel of judges considered that he could benefit from the effective repentance provision under the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which granted him partial amnesty after he became an informant.
Some people who were detained or arrested over alleged Gülen links have claimed on many occasions following their release or during their trial that they were forced to use the repentance law and reveal the names of the Gülen-linked people they know so that the judiciary can also hunt down those people. Some said they had to accuse others because they were threatened or subjected to acts of maltreatment or torture.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement since the corruption investigations of Dec. 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following the abortive putsch.
According to official statements by its interior ministry, Turkey has sent 800 extradition requests to 105 countries since the attempt, and more than 110 alleged members of the movement have been brought back to Turkey as part of the government’s global campaign.