Turkey orders arrest of nearly 200 people over suspected Gulen ties

Police operations targeting the followers of Fethullah Gulen have been carried out regularly since the failed coup and have recently gained momentum. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 January 2019

Turkey orders arrest of nearly 200 people over suspected Gulen ties

  • Police operations targeting the followers of Fethullah Gulen have been carried out regularly since the failed coup and have recently gained momentum
  • More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended

ISTANBUL: Turkey ordered the arrest of 192 people over suspected links to the network of the US-based Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Police operations targeting the followers of Fethullah Gulen have been carried out regularly since the failed coup and have recently gained momentum. Authorities in Istanbul and Adana ordered the arrest of more than 100 military suspects last week.
The Ankara chief prosecutor’s office said it ordered the arrest of 50 military suspects — 3 lieutenants and 47 sergeants — as well as 55 people accused of using the ByLock messaging app, the newspaper reported.
Turkey outlawed ByLock in the aftermath of the failed putsch, saying followers of Gulen used it to communicate on the night of July 15, 2016, when a group of rogue soldiers attempted to overthrow the government, killing some 250 people.
Gulen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied the charges and condemned the coup.
The prosecutor’s office in the central province of Konya ordered the detention of 50 people, including military personnel and their contacts in the Gulen network, the newspaper said.
The prosecutor’s offices of two other provinces, Mugla and Kocaeli, ordered the detention of 15 and 22 military personnel respectively.
More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs as part of the post-coup purges.
Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concerns over the crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan has used the abortive coup as a pretext to quash dissent. The government has said the security measures were necessary due to the gravity of the threat Turkey faces.


Sudan’s Bashir awaits his fate in corruption trial

Updated 14 December 2019

Sudan’s Bashir awaits his fate in corruption trial

  • Khartoum court is expected to hand down its verdict today
  • If found guilty, Sudan’s ex-president Omar Al-Bashir could be sent to prison for up to 10 years

KHARTOUM: A verdict in the corruption trial of Sudan’s ex-president Omar Al-Bashir is expected Saturday, eight months after the military deposed the strongman during unprecedented mass protests against his three-decade rule.
Bashir is charged with illegally acquiring and using foreign funds.
If found guilty, he could be sent to prison for up to 10 years.
The Khartoum court is expected to hand down its verdict at 10:00 a.m.
Bashir was toppled by the army on April 11 after months of mass demonstrations triggered by an acute economic crisis.
He has attended several hearings since the trial began in August, appearing in a metal cage wearing the traditional Sudanese white jalabiya and turban.
At the start of the trial, judge Sadeq Abdelrahman said authorities had seized 6.9 million euros as well as $351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds ($128,000) from Bashir’s home.
While the former president admitted to having received a total of $90 million from Saudi leaders, the trial centers on the $25 million received from Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Bashir said the money seized from his home came out of the $25 million.
The funds, he said, formed part of Sudan’s strategic relations with Saudi Arabia and were “not used for private interests but as donations.”
Bashir’s lawyer Mohamed Al-Hassan told reporters the ex-president’s defense does not see the trial as a legal case, but as “a political” one.
The trial does not relate to charges Bashir faces at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Bashir has been wanted by the ICC for years for his role in the Darfur war that broke out in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against his Arab-dominated government which they accused of marginalizing the region.
Rights groups say Khartoum applied targeted suspected pro-rebel ethnic groups with a scorched earth policy, raping, killing, looting and burning villages.
The Darfur conflict left around 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN.
After Bashir was toppled, ICC prosecutors requested he stand trial for the killings in Darfur.
Army generals who initially seized power after the president’s fall refused to hand over the 75-year-old.
But Sudan’s umbrella protest movement, which now has significant representation on a sovereign council that in August became the country’s highest executive authority — recently said it has no objection to his extradition.
Separately, on November 12, Sudanese authorities filed charges against Bashir and some of his aides for “plotting” the 1989 coup that brought him to power.
In May, Sudan’s attorney general said Bashir had been charged with the deaths of those killed during the anti-regime demonstrations that led to his ouster, without specifying when he would face trial.