Turkey arrests 22 women over messaging app after US citizen behind it released

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Turkey has reportedly arrested 56 people, including 22 women, in connection to an encrypted messaging application the same day a Turkish-American man imprisoned for being the license holder of the app was released from prison.

Bylock, an encrypted messaging app allegedly used during the attempted coup in 2016, was found on many of the phones of protesters, according to a Turkish website.

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The application’s license-holder David Keynes, who changed his name from Alpaslan Demir after gaining US citizenship, was arrested after he turned himself in in June.

“The first hearing in Keynes’ trial was held on October 6, but the court didn’t release him despite reports that Keynes was expecting to be freed under a deal he made with Turkish authorities before coming to Turkey from the US and surrendering to the police,” Turkish opposition website Turkish Minute said.

The women who were arrested had reportedly not used the application themselves, but their names were found in messages, Turkish news site Dogrusu reported.

“Detention warrants were issued for 25 people on the grounds that they were affiliated with the Gulen community, or they were closely associated, and their names were mentioned in Bylock correspondence,” Dogrusu reported.

The Istanbul 29th High Criminal Court reportedly ruled to release Alpaslan Demir citing the fact he had turned himself in and may be entitled to a reduced sentence under the effective remorse law, according to Turkish Minute.

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Turkey and its leader, Recep Tayyip Erodgan, have accused US-based Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen of being behind the 2016 coup where over 250 people were killed and another 2,200 injured.

Keynes was facing up to 15 years in prison as the Turkish government banned Bylock in the country.

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