Ali Ünal, the 62-year-old journalist who used to write columns for the government-closed Zaman newspaper, faces 2 aggravated life sentences and additional 29.5 years in prison.

Under arrest since Aug 16, 2016, Ünal is accused of being one of the leaders of the Gülen movement, which the government put the blame on for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

The movement denies involvement; however, the government considers the group as a terrorist organization. Zaman newspaper is among dozen of media outlets that were shuttered over links to the movement.

Usak Public Prosecutor’s Office has recently completed a 228-page indictment against Ünal. Among the evidences the prosecutor’s office put forward to back up the accusation were Ünal’s translation of Fethullah Gülen’s books from Turkish to English, and his overseas trips. The indictment argues that Ünal met with Gülen in most of those trips.

Worked as an academic and a teacher of English language in his early career, Ünal wrote columns for several newspapers and magazines meanwhile translating faith-based books from Turkish to English and vice versa. Ünal wrote some 20 books and published Fountain and Yeni Ümit magazines as the editor-in-chief for some time.

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