ISTANBUL – TDN with wire dispatches
Fethullah Gülen, the leader of a religious movement alleged to have connections with the government and some newspapers, was acquitted in a final ruling of the General Council of the Supreme Court of Appeals yesterday, news agencies reported.
Gülen, residing in the United States, was sued over allegations that he established an illegal organization to change the secular structure of Turkey and found a state based on religious rules instead. Gülen was sued under the anti-terrorism law. Ankara's 11th Court for Serious Crimes decided in favor of Gülen's acquittal and the ninth branch of the Supreme Court of Appeals confirmed the decision.
The chief prosecutor's office of the Supreme Court of Appeals objected to the confirmation of the decision, saying Gülen faced incorrect charges. He should be brought to court under the penal code rather than the anti-terrorism law, the prosecutor said. The chief prosecutor demanded a new examination of Gülen's file and evidence to determine the nature and timeframe of the crime correctly. The office said a new trial will not be needed to amend the charges, arguing that the Criminal Procedures Law allows the changes to take place. It also argued that the statute of limitations forces the charges to be dropped.
The prosecutor's office aimed to drop the charges so similar charges can be filed in the future. Because the not-guilty verdict stood, new evidence must be found in order to file new charges against Gülen.