The Turkish court overseeing the case of an armed assault against journalist Can Dündar has sentenced Murat Şahin, one of three suspects in the attack, to 10 months in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of TL 4,500 ($750), while the two other defendants were acquitted, the T24 news website reported on Tuesday.
Şahin was sentenced to 10 months in prison on charges of carrying a firearm without a permit, while the fine was imposed for attempting to commit “willful injury.”
Dündar, the former editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, was the target of an armed assault in May 2016 in front of a courthouse in İstanbul.
He was at the venue to attend his trial for reporting on trucks carrying weapons to Syria that allegedly belonged to Turkish intelligence.
Following his report, he was faced with a barrage of denunciatory and menacing remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that were echoed by several pro-government columnists.
While he was spared the attack thanks to his wife’s quick reaction to stop the assailant, NTV correspondent Yağız Şenkal, who was also on the scene, was injured.
Dündar reacted to the ruling via Twitter and claimed it was a “medal given to someone who fired a gun at a journalist.”
“It is also a message of support to those who intend to shoot at journalists in the future: ‘Do not hesitate. The government has your back.’” Dündar tweeted.
Dündar also protested that the suspect was only sentenced for the injury to the NTV correspondent and that he was acquitted of the attempted assault on his life because it failed. “Should we have died?” Dündar asked.
On the other hand, Dündar argued that the court’s ruling confirmed that Erdoğan was lying when he claimed Dündar had been convicted.
He tweeted a picture of the record of proceedings in which the court said Dündar’s other trials were ongoing and that thus far there had been no verdict of conviction against him.
At a press conference during a state visit to Germany last week, Erdoğan claimed that Dündar was a spy responsible for revealing state secrets and that he had been sentenced to five years, 10 months in prison.
“Even though he fled to Germany, this person is a convicted felon and a spy, as far as the Turkish judiciary is concerned,” Erdogan said.