- Adnan Oktar is understood to have been the leader of a religious cult
- He hosted television programs surrounded by scantily clad women who he called his ‘kittens’
- Oktar was found guilty of numerous charges of sexual assault and sexual abuse of minors, among other offences
A Turkish man has been sentenced to almost 9,000 years in jail for crimes he committed as part of what prosecutors said was a religious cult.
Adnan Oktar was originally sentenced to 1,075 years for crimes including sexual assault, sexual abuse of minors, fraud and attempted political and military espionage.
However, that ruling was overturned by a higher court and a retrial was held.
Istanbul’s high criminal court then sentenced Oktar to 8,658 years in prison on several charges including sexual abuse and depriving someone of their liberty, according to the Anadolu news agency.
It’s understood the reason for Oktar’s huge sentence was that he was also punished for the crimes committed by his disciples.
Adnan Oktar, pictured in 2007, wrote his creationism book under the pen name Harun Yahya. Source: Getty / Patrick Robert – Corbis
World’s longest prison sentence?
While some countries’ judicial systems and specific jurisdictions allow for multiple sentences to be served “concurrently”, this was not the case in Oktar’s sentencing.
With such a hefty jail sentence, he is almost certain to die in prison.
Turkish media said this was not the longest sentence handed down in the country, as the same court is said to have previously given out a 9,803-year sentence.
Among the world’s longest prison sentences handed down around the world have been that of Oklahoma bombing accomplice Terry Nichols who was sentenced to 161 life sentences and 9,300 years without parole in the US. Thai woman Chamoy Thipyaso was sentenced to 141,078 years for her role in a pyramid scheme.
Oktar hosted online and cable television programs dressed in designer suits and surrounded by women.
The 66-year-old Muslim preached creationism and conservative values. He referred to the scantily-clad women who were part of the shows as “kittens”.
Oktar gained notoriety for his programs on the online A9 television channel and had regularly been denounced by Turkey’s religious leaders.
Throughout the 1980s Oktar built his circle of devotees, with his followers known as “Adnanists”.
In the 1990s he was part of the group that formed what they called the “Science Research Foundation” which purported to scientifically debunk Darwinism.
He wrote a book under the pen name Harun Yahya titled ‘Atlas of Creation’. Released in 2006, the book argued that Darwin’s theory of evolution was at the root of global terrorism.
Those within scientific fields said the ideas he presented in the book failed to pass basic scientific scrutiny.
That did not stop Oktar from sending thousands of unsolicited copies to French schools, as well as educational institutions around the world in 2007.
His television career began around 2011 and it was in 2018 when his home was raided and he was arrested.
Police at the time said his arrest was part of a probe by the city’s police financial crimes unit.
Turkish media reported police had found 69,000 contraception pills in his home when it was raided and during his trial, Oktar suggested they were used to treat skin disorders and menstrual irregularities.
He denied sexual abuse allegations, claiming he had ”close to 1,000 girlfriends” and had an ”overflowing of love for women”.
With Reuters and AFP