A court in Turkey, on Wednesday, sentenced a television preacher, Adnan Oktar, to 8,658 years in prison over sexual assault and abuse of minors.
According to BBC, Oktar who surrounded himself with young women he referred to as his “kittens” was originally sentenced to 1,075 but an appellate court ordered a retrial involving 215 defendants.
Ten of them were also given 8,658 years in prison by the court in Istanbul. Many of the other defendants were handed shorter terms.
The 66-year-old preacher, who is a fierce critic of the theory of evolution fronted his own television channel, through which he delivered religious sermons.
Oktar and hundreds of his followers were arrested in 2018 in his residence on a litany of charges, including running a criminal organisation, tax offences, sexual abuse, and counter-terrorism laws.
During his arrest, Oktar told reporters that the allegations levelled against him were “lies” and “a game by the British deep state.”
In January 2021 he was convicted of 10 separate charges, including leading a criminal gang, engaging in political and military espionage, sexual abuse of minors, rape, blackmail and causing torment.
He was also charged over alleged links with exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a failed military coup in 2016 which killed 251 people and injured more than 2,000.