Former Turkish Prime Minister Sentenced to Jail
In Turkey, a court has convicted former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan of fraud and sentenced the controversial official to 28 months in prison.
He was found guilty of misusing funds and falsifying records of the Islam-based party he once headed - the now-banned Welfare Party. Turkish officials claim that about $3.5 million were missing from the party's assets, according to VOA News. Erbakan remains free from jail pending an appeal.
The Ankara court also sentenced seventy-one former members of the Welfare Party to terms of 10 months to one year in jail for their roles in the affair. Erbakan and the other suspects were charged in 1998 after their party was banned for attempting to undermine Turkey's secular system.
A campaign backed by Turkey's strongly secular military forced the Islamist Erbakan to relinquish power in 1997 after he served one year in office.
In the past, the former Prime Minister was sentenced to one year in jail in 2000 for a 1994 speech in which he criticized the Turkish government for replacing Islamic prayers with nationalist slogans in schools. He avoided jail due to an amnesty law. (Albawaba.com)
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