Zübeyir Öksüz, cousin of Adil Öksüz, a major suspect in the investigations into the July 15 coup attempt has been sentenced to 9 years and 9 months in prison over terror charges.

Under pre-trial detention for nearly 18 months now, Mr. Zübeyir appeared before the court for his final hearing on Wednesday. He was given 9 years plus 9 months in jail on charges of membership to the Gulen movement.

Turkish government blames the Gulenists for the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt while the latter denies involvement. Adil Öksüz is a major civilian suspect who has been at large since he was briefly detained immediately after the failed attempt.

Turkish government has so far detained 150,000 people and arrested 80,000 over the faintest –true or alleged– links to the Gülen movement. Critics often blast the government for a massive purge it is carrying out that violates the principle of individual criminal responsibility.

“Establishing this association was legal according to laws [when I took part in it.] They were all operating legally. There was no intention of acting like a terror group. These associations carry out their activities within the laws. I didn’t help Gulen group attract new supporters. …I didn’t deposit money to the bank in support of them. It is so normal that I had TL20,000 in my account after having worked all those years. I didn’t use ByLock but I have been under arrest for 18 months. I am a student at 2 universities. My enrollment in the law faculty is about to be revoked. I am a teacher of 15 years and I have been under arrest for 18 months. I demand my acquittal,” Mr. Zübeyir told the judge in charge.

The judge convicted him of terror charges.