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Former intelligence chief sentenced to prison for deporting Turkish teachers, doctor secretly

A court sentenced Kosovo’s former intelligence chief to prison Wednesday for secretly deporting five Turkish teachers and a Turkish doctor to Turkey.

The court in Pristina convicted Driton Gashi, the former director of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency, of abuse of official post or authority and gave him a prison term of four years and eight months.

Once he is released from custody, Gashi is not allowed to serve in any public positions for four years, the court said.

The six Turks were arrested and had their Kosovo residency permits revoked in March 2018 for allegedly being a threat to national security. Gashi had not legally proven they were a threat but had them deported before the charges were considered by a court.

In Kosovo, the teachers worked with schools owned by Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric whom the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for an attempted military coup in July 2016.

Europe Fox News graphic

 Kosovo’s former intelligence chief has been sentenced to prison for deporting Turkish teachers and doctor secretly.  (Fox News)

Tens of thousands of alleged Gulen supporters have been arrested or lost their jobs in Turkey since the failed coup. Many have proclaimed their innocence. Gulen has denied he and his supporters were behind the attempt to topple Erdogan’s government.

Kosovo’s then-prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, said the deportations to Turkey were a bilateral operation of the intelligence services of the two countries.

The deportations were criticized by rights groups, the then-U.S. ambassador and students in Kosovo.

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