Cumhuriyet journalist Gül acquitted of charges of ‘revealing state secrets’

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - MAY 6: Can Dundar (2nd R), editor-in-chief of the newspaper Cumhuriyet, and Erdem Gul (2nd L), the paper’s Ankara bureau chief, speak to the media outside the Istanbul's Caglayan courthouse after the court announced its decision in Istanbul, Turkey on May 06, 2016. A high court in Istanbul convicted Turkish journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul Friday night on charges of revealing state secrets, sentencing them to five years and 10 months, and five years in prison, respectively. Yunus Ege / Anadolu Agency

The İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Monday acquitted Cumhuriyet daily journalist Erdem Gül of charges of “revealing state secrets” in a June 12, 2015 report on Turkish intelligence agency trucks that were allegedly carrying weapons to Syria.

Gül was tried by the same court in 2016 along with Can Dündar, the former editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet daily, and sentenced to five years in prison on the same charge. Dündar was also sentenced to five years, 10 months.

Upon appeal, the Supreme Court of Appeals in March dismissed the case, saying Gül should have been acquitted while Dündar should have been sentenced to 15 or 20 years.

In today’s retrial hearing, in addition to Gül and his lawyers, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyers were also present.

The prosecutor demanded Gül’s acquittal since his report was subsequent to Dündar’s report of May 29, 2015 on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks allegedly carrying arms to Syria, after which President Erdoğan publicly targeted the Cumhuriyet daily.

Gül and Dündar were also indicted for supporting a terrorist organization with their news reports on the MİT trucks, along with Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who was sentenced to five years, 10 months in February. A hearing in this case will be held on Wednesday in İstanbul.

Both journalists were in prison for 92 days in 2016 and released after a decision by the Constitutional Court saying the local court had violated their rights to liberty and security as well as freedom of expression.

Dündar has been living abroad since July 2016.

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