The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday stated that 11,480 GSM users were found to have been involuntarily directed to mobile phone application ByLock, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The legal status of the 11,480 mobile phone users will be re-evaluated, prosecutors said.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool among Gülenists, which are accused by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of orchestrating a failed coup last year.

The group denies any involvement.

Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and homemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Freedom House, a US-based independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world, listed Turkey in its newly released “Freedom on the Net 2017” as among the countries in which Internet freedoms are restricted the most and said tens of thousands of Turkish citizens have been arbitrarily detained for their alleged use of the encrypted communications app ByLock.

The Supreme Court of Appeals’ Assembly of Criminal Chambers ruled that the ByLock smart phone application is to be considered evidence of membership in a terrorist organization following Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül’s remarks on ByLock constituting strong evidence of terrorist organization membership.

 

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