Turkey's Supreme Court has ruled that Cumhuriyet journalist Can Dündar, pictured in Postdam in 2017, should face a retrial on espionage charges. (AFP/Steffi Loos)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of March 15, 2018

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on March 15, 2018 2:09 PM ET

Supreme Court says Can Dündar should face retrial
Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals on March 9 ruled that Can Dündar, former chief editor of the daily, Cumhuriyet, and Erdem Gül, the paper's Ankara representative, should face a retrial on charges of "obtaining secret information with means of espionage," Euronews reported.

If convicted of espionage, the journalists could face between 15 to 20 years in prison.

The Supreme Court on the same date revoked the sentence that a local court handed down on May 6, 2016, to the two journalists for "exposing secret documents and information," Euronews reported. In that trial, Dündar, who is living in exile, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison, and Gül was sentenced to five years, for a report that alleged Turkey smuggled weapons into Syria under cover of humanitarian aid.

Dündar told Euronews that the prosecutor in his original case failed to file the case in the timeframe set by Turkish law.

"The case needs to be filed within four months for press-related crimes. The court ignored that time limit. The Supreme Court of Appeals revoked the sentence," Dündar told the paper. "However, in order to not to leave me unpunished, now they want punishment, not for publication but for obtaining state secrets for espionage."

No date has been set for the retrial.

Journalists released pending trial

A court ordered two former Cumhuriyet journalists--Murat Sabuncu, chief editor, and Ahmet Şık, a reporter--to be released pending the outcome of their trial, Cumhuriyet reported on March 9. Akın Atalay, chair of the foundation that publishes Cumhuriyet, remains in custody for the opposition daily's ongoing trial.

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