‘Cult leader’: Turkish Oktar sentenced to 8,658 years in prison
In a retrial, an Istanbul court handed down an 8,658-year prison term to a televangelist who surrounded himself with women wearing minimal clothing whom he referred to as “kittens,” according to Turkish local media.
Adnan Oktar, who has been labeled a “cult leader,” oversaw television programmes where he preached creationism and traditional values while flanked by women. Additionally, he used the pen name Harun Yahya to produce books in other languages all over the world.
The 66-year-old and hundreds of his followers were detained in 2018 after a police raid on his villa revealed he had been operating a criminal organization while disguising himself as a member of a heterodox Islamic cult that waged campaigns against evolution through various media outlets and publishing houses. His A9 TV channel on the internet was also terminated.
Oktar was found guilty on ten different crimes in January 2021, including rape, blackmail, directing a criminal gang, conducting political and military espionage, sexually abusing kids, and engaging in espionage.
The accusations included supporting the Fethullah Gulen-led network, which Turkey accuses of orchestrating a botched coup attempt in 2016. Oktar was given a 1,075-year sentence at the time, but an appeals court reversed it.
On Wednesday, Oktar was found guilty of many offences, including sexual abuse and depriving a person of their liberty, and the High Criminal Court of Istanbul sentenced him to 8,658 years in jail, according to the Anadolu news agency.
According to the agency, the court also gave each of the other 10 accused a sentence of 8,658 years in jail.