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Turkey Sentences UN Court Judge to 7 Years in Jail Over Failed Coup Attempt

© AP Photo / Hussein MallaA Turkish special forces policeman stands guard in front the damaged building of the police headquarters which was attacked by the Turkish warplanes during the failed military coup last Friday, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, July 19, 2016
A Turkish special forces policeman stands guard in front the damaged building of the police headquarters which was attacked by the Turkish warplanes during the failed military coup last Friday, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - Sputnik International
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A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced a top judge who adjudicates war crimes trials for the United Nations to seven years and six months in jail on charges of having links to the group Ankara blames for last summer’s failed coup.

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Aydin Sefa Akay, a top judge attached to the UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, was arrested in September at his family home and charged with terrorism over alleged membership in the faith-based movement of Fethullah Gulen. Ankara blames Gulen for masterminding the July 2016 military putsch attempt in Turkey, but the cleric, who currently lives in self-imposed exile in the US, has repeatedly denied the accusations.

The court found Akay, one of the highest-profile suspects arrested in the relentless post-coup crackdown against alleged Gulen adherents, guilty of holding conversations via Bylock, a special smartphone application Ankara claims Gulen supporters use to stay in touch.

In his initial testimony, Akay admitted to installing Bylock but claimed that he had not used any password to access the system, local media reported.

In the final hearing of Akay's trial, the court decided to release the retired ambassador under judicial supervision, pending confirmation of the verdict by Turkey's supreme appeals court, the Yargitay. A date for that ruling is yet unknown. If the the sentence is upheld, Akay will be sent back behind bars.

Akay had been working with the UN international court, trying suspects over the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and his detention has frozen proceedings into an appeal hearing of former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware.

The military coup attempt that took place in Turkey in July was quickly suppressed by government forces. More than 240 people were killed and an estimated 2,000 were wounded during the uprising. Since then, Turkey has arrested thousands of military personnel, activists and journalists on suspicion of links with Fethullah Gulen.

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