Turkish court orders release of anti-government religious group leader

A Turkish court in the southeast province of Adana ruled on Thursday in favour of the release of Egypt-educated theologian Alparslan Kuytul, the leader of the Islamist Furkan Foundation, after 22 months in prison.

Kuytul’s official Twitter account announced the court’s decision. The theologian was released from Bolu prison later in the day and went to a mosque for prayers.

On Jan. 30, 2018, police raided 33 addresses and arrested 28 foundation directors and members of the group, including Kuytul. The religious leader is known for his opposition to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which he once called the Development with Oppression Party.

After detaining Kuytul, Turkish prosecutors charged the leader with “inciting hatred” and “insulting the president” and the authorities shut down his foundation.