Berlin — Turkish journalist Can Dündar, who lives in exile in Germany, has been sentenced to greater than 27 years in jail by a Turkish court docket on Wednesday. The court docket accused the journalist of acquiring state secrets and techniques for espionage functions. Choose Akın Gürlek additionally convicted him of supporting terrorism.
The 59-year-old journalist has lived in Germany since late summer time 2016, and several other trials are underway in opposition to him in Turkey. Nevertheless, Germany is unlikely to extradite the previous editor in chief of the Turkish every day newspaper Cumhuriyet.
The latest verdict was prompted by a report in Cumhuriyet from 2015, when Dündar was editor in chief. In Might 2015, the anti-government publication had reported on alleged secret arms deliveries by the Turkish intelligence service to Syrian insurgent teams.
Based on Dündar’s report, the vehicles wherein the weapons had been transported by way of Turkey belonged to the Turkish intelligence service MIT. The truck drivers allegedly recognized themselves as MIT members to the cops who stopped the autos. The vehicles had been stopped on two completely different days in early 2014 in Ceyhan within the Adana province and in Hatay. In each instances, the weapons had been found beneath a cargo of medical provides. The weapons had been allegedly grenade launchers full with projectiles and huge portions of ammunition for machine weapons and different weapons.
Dündar allegedly acquired the data and images of the smuggling vehicles from Enis Berberoğlu, the previous editor in chief of the key every day newspaper Hürriyet. Berberoğlu later grew to become a member of parliament for the opposition CHP occasion. He was in jail himself till the summer time of 2020.
Different Turkish media had additionally reported on the arms smuggling. Aydınlık, a smaller every day newspaper, had revealed the report even earlier than Dündar’s Cumhüriyet however the journalists had been by no means convicted for publishing the story.
However Dündar, then again, had been sentenced in 2016 for publishing state secrets and techniques.
Nevertheless, this verdict was later overturned when the Supreme Courtroom had insisted that he must also reply for espionage. After three months in pre-trial detention, Dündar was launched in early 2016 on the order of Turkey’s Constitutional Courtroom, shortly after he narrowly escaped an assassination try throughout a court docket trial. Dündar was sentenced to greater than 5 in jail on the time, however managed to flee to Germany.
Not directly, the 14th Istanbul Jury Courtroom Chamber conceded in its newest verdict that Dündar might have been proper in his accusation of illegally supplying weapons to Syrian rebels. Dündar acquired 18 years and 9 months in jail for acquiring secret data “with the intention of espionage.”
Nevertheless, the cost of illegally publishing state secrets and techniques was dropped. The court docket additionally sentenced Dündar to eight years and 9 months in jail for supporting terrorism. That cost has been leveled in opposition to most dissidents in Turkey for the reason that 2016 coup try.
The court docket in Istanbul based mostly its verdict on a letter which was despatched to the U.N. Safety Council in 2015 by Bashir Jaafari, the previous Everlasting Consultant of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations.
CBS Information obtained the letter despatched by Jaafari wherein he complains to the UN that the Turkish authorities was trafficking arms into Syria. As an proof of that, Jaafari is quoting, amongst others, the article of Can Dündar.
“Now the Turkish authorities is utilizing this letter as an proof of me spying for the Syrian authorities”, Dündar advised CBS Information.
Dündar’s legal professionals boycotted the sentencing. They accused the court docket of appearing on political directions from the federal government and violating the defendant’s rights. For instance, they mentioned, the court docket had deliberated on the case a number of occasions with out the protection.
Since Dündar fled to Germany, all his property in Turkey had been confiscated just a few months in the past.
“We had been anticipating this final result for 5 years” Dündar advised CBS Information. “They had been looking for the precise choose who would make this foolish verdict as a result of it is not simple to cost somebody for spying with none proof.”
“Now they’ve a letter by a Syrian official who merely quotes numerous reporting on the weapons supply, and the Turkish judges name that proof. It is ridiculous,” he added.
The opposition calls the choose Akın Gürlek “Erdoğan’s set off”.
Additionally Dündar’s spouse, Dilek — who joined her husband in exile in summer time 2019 — known as the sentencing a joke: “Can grew to become Bond 008 simply in a single day — that is ridiculous.”
Dündar will now go to the European Courtroom of Human Rights. “My legal professionals will enchantment to the Excessive Courtroom however I do not count on something from it as a result of it is beneath management of Erdoğan,” Dündar advised CBS Information.
“Everybody is aware of that these choices and rulings are political and never judicial,” he identified.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had repeatedly known as Dündar an “agent.” He additionally rejected on Wednesday a judgment of the European Courtroom of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which had demanded within the highest occasion the discharge of the Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş. As a consequence, Turkey’s exclusion from the Council of Europe is now prone to be on the agenda.
Critics of the Erdoğan authorities see the choice within the Dündar case as additional proof that Turkey is shifting additional and additional away from European authorized norms. The Strasbourg Human Rights Courtroom had demanded on Tuesday the discharge of the Kurdish politician Demirtaş, who has been in pre-trial detention for greater than 4 years. Demirtaş is being held in detention for political causes, the European judges mentioned.
The Strasbourg court docket additionally demanded the discharge of democracy activist Osman Kavala, who has been in jail for greater than three years. Like Dündar, Demirtaş and Kavala had been publicly denounced by Erdoğan as enemies of the state.
As a member of the Council of Europe, Turkey is obliged to implement the Strasbourg verdicts. Nevertheless, within the case of Demirtaş and Kavala, Ankara refuses to take action.
Turkey is often criticized internationally for its systematic restriction of press freedom. The nation at present ranks 154th within the Reporters With out Borders group’s worldwide press freedom rating.
This verdict is deterring for different journalists, mentioned Dündar. “Who would now publish such a narrative understanding that they could face a long time in jail?”
However he stays optimistic: “As soon as the political local weather modifications, all these court docket rulings will develop into invalid.”