Journalist Sentenced To 27yrs Imprisonment For Espionage, Terror

Turkish journalist Can Dundar, who lives in exile in Germany, was sentenced to more than 27 years imprisonment on charges of espionage and aiding a terrorist organisation by an Istanbul court on Wednesday.

Dundar was sentenced to 18 years and nine months for obtaining state secrets for the purpose of political or military espionage.

However, he was acquitted on the allegations of “disclosing” secret information.

The court also sentenced him to an additional eight years and nine months for supporting an armed terrorist organisation, without being a member.

The former editor-in-chief of Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet fled to Germany in 2016 and was tried in absentia.

The trial centres around Cumhuriyet’s coverage in 2015 of Turkish intelligence sending arms shipments in trucks to Islamist rebels in Syria.

In 2014, gendarmerie officers stopped National Intelligence Service (MIT) trucks at the Turkish border town of Hatay on their way to Syria, in defiance of government orders.

The officers were accused of links to U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, and some of them were handed jail sentences in 2019 related to the truck incident.

Ankara blames Gulen for a coup attempt in 2016 by a faction in the military and labels his movement a terrorist group.

Dundar’s lawyers were not present at the hearing in Caglayan courthouse, saying they “do not want to be part of a practice to legitimise a previously decided, political verdict.”

The court has demanded Dundar’s arrest and repatriation.

Earlier this month, the court delayed its verdict against Dundar after his lawyers cited the lack of a fair trial and asked to swap out the judges.

That request was rejected.

In October, the court declared Dundar a fugitive, seizing all his assets in Turkey.

Arab News


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