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Turkish court sentences televangelist to 8,658 years in prison

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Adnan Oktar, a television preacher, was given an 8,658-year prison term by a Turkish court on Wednesday for sexual assault and child abuse.

According to the BBC, Oktar was originally given a sentence of 1,075 but an appeals court ordered a new trial with 215 defendants. Oktar surrounded himself with young women whom he referred to as his “kittens.”

The Istanbul court also sentenced ten of them to 8,658 years in prison. Many of the other defendants received sentences that were shorter.

The 66-year-old preacher led his own television channel, through which he broadcast religious sermons. He is a fierce opponent of the theory of evolution.

In 2018, Oktar and a large number of his supporters were detained at his home on a variety of charges, including running a criminal organization, tax evasion, sexual assault, and violating anti-terrorism laws.

During his arrest, Oktar told reporters that the allegations levelled against him were “lies” and “a game by the British deep state.”

In January 2021 he was convicted of 10 separate charges, including leading a criminal gang, engaging in political and military espionage, sexual abuse of minors, rape, blackmail and causing torment.

He was also charged over alleged links with exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a failed military coup in 2016 which killed 251 people and injured more than 2,000.

 

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