Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

Journalists, MP stand trial in Syria arms report case

Journalists, MP stand trial in Syria arms report case

An Istanbul court adjourned on Thursday trial of former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet daily, Can Dündar, the newspaper’s Ankara representative Erdem Gül and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu over the 2015 publication of a news report on alleged arms transfer to Syria until June 14.

Istanbul 14th Heavy Criminal Court is expected to release its verdict in the upcoming hearing.

Dündar and Gül are charged with “committing crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being its member” while Berberoğlu is accused of “exposing secret documents related to the state security or domestic or foreign interests for purposes of political or military espionage,” facing a possible life sentence.

Dündar and Gül were imprisoned pending trial for the news story that was published by Cumhuriyet on May 29, 2015 and spent three months in jail before they were released on February 26, 2016 after the Constitutional Court that ruled that their detention amounted to rights violation.

On May 6, 2016, Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court sentenced Dündar to seven years in prison, reduced to five years and 10 months, on charges of revealing state secrets that could harm the security of the state or its domestic or foreign interests. Gül was sentenced to six years in prison, reduced to five years, on the same charge. Both were acquitted of “coup” charges while terrorism charges were separated from the case file. Despite the sentencing, Dündar and Gül remain free, pending the outcome of appeal.

Berberoğlu, accused of providing the footage that was used in the Cumhuriyet story, was separately charged with terrorism and espionage. His case was combined with the Cumhuriyet journalists in September 2015.

On January 11, 2017, the prosecutor announced his legal opinion on the case against Dündar, Gül and Berberoğlu. The prosecutor demanded up to 15 years for each for “committing crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being its member” and life in prison for Berberoğlu on “espionage” charges.

On May 6, 2016, a man shot twice at Dündar outside the courthouse during a break in the trial. Dündar was not harmed. He later left Turkey and is currently editing news portal from Germany.