NASA scientist returns to U.S. after years under arrest

A Turkish-American scientist returned with his family to the United States on Tuesday after four years of imprisonment and house arrest in Turkey on terror charges, the New York Times said.

Serkan Gölge arrived in Washington on a commercial flight shortly after midnight, it said.

The former NASA scientist was arrested on July 23, 2016, shortly after Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) fended off an attempted coup by factions in the Turkish military, and released on May 29, 2019.

Gölge received a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence in February 2018 for membership of the Gülen religious movement, which the AKP blames for orchestrating the coup attempt.

The initial sentence was reduced to five years by a court in late 2019, and he was released for the time he served.

Gölge was one of several U.S. citizens and employees who were arrested after the coup attempt. The highest profile detainee, American pastor Andrew Brunson, was released in September, 2018, after months of pressure from the U.S. government, including sanctions against Turkey.

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