Cult leader arrested over charges of sexual abuse of 12-year-old girl

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Turkish authorities formally arrested an Islamic cult leader on charges of sexual abuse of a minor in the northwestern Sakarya province, daily Hürriyet reported.

Eyüp Fatih Şağban (58), a so-called sect leader who was previously a subject of a debate in the media for his desire to be in the control mechanisms of the Turkish state, was arrested with the allegation of abusing a 12-year-old girl.

The sexual abuse came out to light after the victim told her mother about it.

The child’s family then filed a complaint to the authorities and notified the gendarmerie forces, which raided the Islamic monastery (dergah) of the cult named “Uşşaki” in the city on Aug. 27.

Carrying out his activities based in Istanbul, Şağban also had a summer house used as a dergah in Sakarya’s Akyazı district, where he accepted his guests and followers, according to the investigation file at the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Şağban abused the 12-year-old girl more than once, who was staying at the dergah with her parents and were his followers, stated the file.

After filing a complaint, the father of the girl was attacked by other cult members on the premises, while the law enforcement forces barely rescued him from a lynching attempt.

The abused child explained the events she had experienced to the pedagogues working at the Child Monitoring Center at Sakarya University.

The girl said Şağban abused her while she was taking tea and other times when they were alone.

She was also abused during her sleep, but she was not able to tell about it until now because of her fear, according to her testimony.

Following the testimony at the prosecutor’s office, Şağban was arrested by court order and was sent to the Ferizli Prison in Sakarya.

After his arrest, Turkish authorities temporarily shut down the cult’s premises as part of COVID-19 measures.

Şağban was on the agenda across the country with his controversial statements, before which a debate was stirred over its content that included discussions on cauterization attempts in the state bureaucracy.

“First, let the Islamic state be established, we will wrap the best imamahs, we will wear the most beautiful robes. Hagia Sophia is opened. Imamah and robe also [to be worn]. The time will come,” he had said.

“Let’s be in the control mechanisms of the state. Muslims suffer when uncertain people are in the decision mechanisms,” he had noted.

The prosecutors in Akyazı issued a “confidentiality order” for the abuse case.

Hurriyet Daily News

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