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Former deputy chief justice given 11-year jail sentence over Gülen links

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Former deputy chief justice of Turkey’s Constitutional Court Alparslan Altan has been handed down a prison sentence of 11 years, three months on terrorism charges due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, the T24 news website reported on Wednesday.

Altan was given the jail sentence on charges of membership in an armed terrorist organization.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Altan was detained just one day after the coup attempt and was subsequently arrested.

During Wednesday’s hearing, held at the Regional Court of Justice at the 9th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, where other judicial members who were also removed from their posts in the aftermath of the coup attempt are standing trial, Altan denied the charges, saying there is no concrete evidence against him. The former judge asked for his acquittal.

The court still handed down the lengthy jail sentence.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs, while in excess of 50,000 others were jailed and more than 500,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.

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