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Turkish cult leader gets record 8,658 years in retrial

A Turkish cult leader who was typically seen surrounded by a harem of scantily-clad young women has been sentenced to over 8,658 years in prison for sexual abuse and attempted espionage.

Adnan Oktar, was engaged in a massive campaign in the 2000s of proselytising Westerners to Islam, producing dozens of cheap, short, vividly illustrated books in the languages of Europe and the Muslim world.

An Istanbul court handed down one of the world’s longest prison sentences to Oktar during Wednesday’s final hearing in a retrial. The cult leader and 14 other defendants were handed down 8,658 years of prison terms.

The current sentences did not exceed prison terms by the court in earlier hearings which issued a 9,803 years and six months sentence, but are still one of the longest in the world.

On Wednesday, judges had issued their final say on the fate of 215 defendants, with 72 in detention, including Oktar who was confident that he would be released. This time, Oktar was personally sentenced to over 800 years in prison on charges of running a criminal organization, sexual abuse, denial of education rights, torture, abduction and illegal storage of personal data.

Oktar, in total, was sentenced to 8,658 years as the court reasoned that he should be sentenced for crimes committed by his disciples as the head of the cult.

The indictment against Oktar and others, presented to the court in September, accuse them of running an armed organization, exploiting religious sentiment. They are accused of collecting intelligence-related information and defaming cult members seeking to sever their ties.

Oktar is also accused of systemic sexual abuse of the cult’s members and collecting private data regarding high-profile names, from politicians to journalists.

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