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A scientist, who works for U.S. space agency NASA was sentenced to jail in Turkey, the private Dogan news agency reported on Friday, for being linked to an Islamic cleric the government blames for an attempted coup.

Serkan Golge, a dual U.S.-Turkish national, was sent to prison for seven-and-a-half years.

The U.S. State Department condemned the verdict.

The 37-year-old was convicted of having links to Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Islamic cleric.

The Turkish government blames Gulen for orchestrating the 2016 failed military coup, charges the cleric denies.

Golge was arrested shortly after the coup attempt while on a family holiday in Turkey, where he was born.

He was accused of espionage and terrorism.

State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said the U.S. government was deeply concerned about the “conviction without credible evidence” of the senior NASA researcher.

“We will continue to follow his case closely along with those of other U.S. citizens whose ongoing prosecution under the state of emergency raises serious concerns about respect for judicial independence,” Nauert said, calling for an end to the emergency law.

Golge’s alma mater, Old Dominion University in the U.S., has also backed its “outstanding” alumnus, in a statement issued in October.

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