Memduh Çıkmaz, a Turkish businessman who was detained in Sudan and forced back to Turkey as part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s global manhunt last year, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Corum 2nd High Criminal Court handed over its verdict in a case involving Çıkmaz and 20 others who are accused of having links to the Gulen movement. Çıkmaz was given 10 years in prison on charge of membership to a terror group, media said Friday.
Erdogan accuses the movement of masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt and calls it FETO, short for the alleged Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, while the group denies involvement in the failed attempt and any terror-related acts.
Once awarded by former President Abdullah Gul as the third highest tax payer in the central Anatolian province of Corum, Çıkmaz was detained in September 2017, in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum where he owns a tile manufacturing company.
Shortly after his detention in Sudan, he “was brought back to Turkey with MIT [Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency] operation,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency announced in November, 2017.
Turkey has already detained more than 150,000 people over their alleged or real ties to the movement at home and the crackdown has spilled over to overseas since the summer of 2016. More than a dozen Turkish nationals with links to the movement were deported from several countries to Turkey where most of them have been held in in pre-trial detention since.
A number of human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued statements in recent times, urging foreign governments to avoid extradition to Turkey.