Turkish journalist Can Dündar was sentenced in absentia to more than 27 years in prison.
Journalist Can Dündar was sentenced in absentia to 18 years and nine months in prison for "espionage" and to a further eight years and nine months for "supporting terrorism". The political sentence against the journalist, who lives in exile in Germany, was handed down over his investigative research into arms supplies by the Turkish government to the "Islamic State" and al-Qaeda in Syria.
With the help of a now-suspended prosecutor, Dündar had investigated how the Turkish intelligence service uses trucks belonging to the "aid organization" IHH to smuggle weapons into Syria. The journalist had published a video in 2015 showing how 1,000 mortar shells, 1,000 artillery shells, 50,000 rounds of assault rifle ammunition and 30,000 pieces of machine gun ammunition were to be transported to Syria on three IHH trucks. Gendarmerie (military police) had inspected the trucks and found war equipment. However, the ammunition was re-designated as "humanitarian aid" by the Turkish government and delivered. The Turkish regime claimed that these weapons did not exist at all. After the evidence was made public, it went on the attack. President Erdoğan publicly declared Dündar a spy and threatened that he would have to "pay a heavy price for this."
Since the verdict in the political trial had already been determined, Dündar's legal team boycotted the proceedings. Dündar had been sentenced in 2016 to more than five years in prison for the publications in question on charges of betraying secrets and exonerated from charges of espionage. However, the Supreme Court in Ankara overturned the verdict in 2018, stating that the trial must also include the offense of espionage.