Turkish court overturns journalist Dündar’s sentence to charge him with espionage

Turkey’s Supreme Court has overturned a five-year jail term on former Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar for revealing secret documents, and instead ruled he should be tried for the more grievous crime of supplying information for the purposes of espionage.

Dündar had been sentenced five years and 10 months for “supplying information that should remain secret for purposes of espionage”, pro-government broadcaster NTV said.

But the Supreme Court ruled to instead try Dündar for “supplying information that should remain secret for purposes of espionage”, which carries a 15 to 20-year prison sentence.

Dündar’s Cumhuriyet published photographs of Turkish intelligence supplying truckloads of weapons to Syrian rebels in May 2015 under the headline, “Here are the weapons Erdoğan said did not exist”.

Erdoğan in turn accused Dündar of espionage and said the photographs had been a set-up by the Gülen movement, a religious sect the government says was behind the 2016 failed coup.

Dündar was detained until February 2016, and moved to Germany in June 2016, where he is the editor of media platform Özgürüz.

On June 14, 2017, opposition Republican People’s Party politician Enis Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in jail for leaking the photographs.