Investigative journalist Mehmet Baransu, who has been behind bars since March 2015, has been handed down a prison sentence of 19 years, six months in a trial concerning his 2013 reporting of an alleged customs fraud involving genetically modified rice, according to Turkish media reports.
Baransu, a reporter and columnist for the now-defunct Taraf daily, was given the jail sentence on three separate charges in a trial heard by the Mersin 2nd High Criminal Court. The journalist was charged with exposing classified information crucial to state security and interests, possession of documents classified as state secrets and membership in an armed terrorist organization, namely the Gülen movement.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Baransu is incarcerated in Silivri Prison in İstanbul, facing nearly a thousand years in jail as part of scores of other cases.