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Turkish court sentences journalist in absentia

Can Dundar is being tried for espionage and aiding a terror group [Getty Images]

Date of publication: 23 December, 2020

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Can Dundar's trial for publishing state secrets resumed in Turkey after a pause, but he remains in Germany.
A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced prominent journalist Can Dundar, exiled in Germany, to more than 27 years in jail on charges of aiding a terror group and espionage, local media reported. 

The court in Istanbul found Dundar, who served as editor-in-chief of the opposition Cumhuriyet daily before fleeing to Germany in 2016, guilty over a story about an arms shipment intercepted at the Syrian border, which it claimed was destined for Syrian rebels. 

He was previously put on pre-trial detention and convicted for publishing state secrets for the same story but his conviction was overturned and the case re-opened with harsher sentences.

Investigators accused him of having financed the anti-government protests in 2013 and of being linked to the 2016 failed coup bid, which he has repeatedly denied.

Dundar is accused of having acted as an agent trying to increase tensions and having tried to reinforce the resistance of members of a "terrorist" organisation to the security forces.

Dundar is the paper's former editor-in-chief.

Read more: Democracy as collateral damage in Turkey's war on journalism

The journalist has been living in Germany since 2016 and is being tried in absentia.

In October a court ordered his return to Turkey.

Upon refusal, Dundar was declared a fugitive of justice and stripped of his assets.

During a visit to Berlin in September 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan handed Germany a list of dozens of people Ankara wants extradited, including Dundar.

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