Appeals court reverses decision on Can Dündar in MIT trucks case

Published 09.03.2018 00:00
Updated 09.03.2018 18:55
Erdem Gül L and Can Dündar R
Erdem Gül (L) and Can Dündar (R)

Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals reversed an earlier ruling Friday by an Istanbul criminal court on fugitive Can Dündar for leaking secret documents in the controversial "MIT trucks" case, saying the Cumhuriyet daily's former Editor-in-Chief should be sentenced to 15 to 20 years in jail.

According to the court's decision, the earlier ruling by the 14th High Criminal Court which has charged Dündar with "leaking state secrets" and sentenced him to 5 years in prison was not fully defining the scope of his crime.

The court said Dündar was guilty of "obtaining confidential documents for military espionage" and should be sentenced to 15-20 years in prison.

Dündar is among the suspects of an espionage case related to publishing confidential footage in the controversial 2014 National Intelligence Organization (MIT) trucks raid. Trucks belonging to MIT were stopped in early January 2014 in the southern Adana province while they were carrying supplies to Turkmens in the Bayırbucak region in northern Syria's Latakia, according to government officials.

The decision said Dündar was capable of knowing the nature of the state secrets, adding that he committed the military espionage on behalf of the Syrian government.

The raid against the trucks was allegedly carried out by officials linked to the controversial Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) with the purpose of undermining the government's reputation in the international area.

While an investigation on the incident was underway, the Cumhuriyet newspaper – later joined by several other media institutions – unlawfully published footage of the raid and the content found in it.

Dündar and Cumhuriyet's Ankara Bureau Chief Erdem Gül were initially arrested but they were later released on March 9, 2016 after a controversial ruling that their rights had been violated. Dündar later on fled Turkey to Germany in July 2017.

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