8 people face up to 15 years in prison for aiding families of post-coup victims

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An indictment drafted by Turkish prosecutors seeks a prison sentence of between seven-and-a-half and 15 years for eight people who were arrested in the southeastern province of Gaziantep for helping the families of individuals targeted by a post-coup crackdown in Turkey.

The eight people were detained in a police operation in Gaziantep on Feb. 7, 2020 targeting alleged members of the faith-based Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed putsch. Seven of the detainees were released on judicial probation, while one was arrested.

The suspects are accused of membership in a terrorist organization in the indictment, accepted by the Gaziantep 7th High Criminal Court, for providing food and financial assistance to the families of people who were arrested in the post-coup crackdown or removed from their state jobs and hence deprived of the means to make a living.

One of the suspects, Yusuf Ö., is also accused of providing jobs to the family members of purged civil servants.

Since the coup attempt, followers of the Gülen movement have been subjected to a massive crackdown, with the Turkish government and pro-government media outlets demonizing its members.

According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu in November, a total of 292,000 people have been detained, while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there were 25,655 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed due to links to the Gülen movement.

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