Turkish journalists get five year jail sentences

Can Dündar, editor-in-chief of Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, and fellow journalist Erdem Gül, its Ankara bureau chief have been sentenced by an Istanbul court to five years imprisonment for ‘procuring and revealing state secrets.’

Outside court a gunman fired shots at Dündar who was unharmed.

“In the space of two hours we have experienced two assassination attempts: one was done with a gun, the other was judicial,” said the newspaper editor, speaking in front of the court after the verdict was announced.

“The [jail sentences] we received are not just to silence us. The bullet was not just to silence us. This was done to all of us, to scare us into silence, to make us stop talking.

“We all have to be courageous, despite all of this, and defend the freedom of the press and the freedom of information,” Dundar who received a five years and ten months sentence, said.

The two men were acquitted on charges of trying to overthrow the government, but convicted of publishing secret state documents.

Dündar and Gül who got a slightly shorter sentence of five years and six months, will not be imprisoned until the appeal process is concluded at the Supreme Court of Appeal. In addition, their ban on leaving the country was lifted by the court.

The court also separated out charges of links to terrorist organisations to await a verdict in a separate trial.

Meanwhile, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court acquitted Dündar and Gül of charges over plotting to overthrow the government.

Sabah, Guardian

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