Dozens of staff at a Turkish university have been given jail sentences of up to almost nine years over their alleged membership of a banned political group.
Sixty-four academics and university administrators from Pamukkale University, in south-west Turkey, were imprisoned on 12 May for allegedly belonging to the Gülen group, which is associated with the exiled Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, the human rights website Turkey Purge reported.
Güllen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric is blamed by the Turkish government for leading the attempted coup of July 2016, although he denies any involvement.
At a hearing of Denizli 5th Penal Court, some 64 out of 115 suspects from Pamukkale University were jailed for between 18 months and eight years and nine months for membership of the Gülenist movement.
Meanwhile, a recent report on human rights violations in the education sector by the Human Rights Association’s Istanbul branch claimed that a total of 34,000 teachers have been dismissed since July 2016, while 5,882 academics and 1,372 administrative personnel at universities have been also sacked as part of the Turkish government’s post-coup crackdown,
In a separate development, 12 students from Abant Izzet Baysal University, in Bolu, near Istanbul, have been detained along with two teachers who were earlier dismissed from their jobs over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement on 17 May.
The suspects are accused of using ByLock, an encrypted mobile app that Turkish prosecutors claimed was used by Gülen followers to communicate.