Turkish prosecutor demands 31 years for Dundar

ISTANBUL (AA) – A prosecutor on Tuesday called for a prison sentence of up to 31 years for newspaper editor Can Dundar for revealing state secrets.

Dundar, the editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper and Erdem Gul, the paper’s Ankara bureau chief, are on trial in Istanbul following the publication of images purporting to show arms being transported to Syria in trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT).

In a legal argument passed to journalists, Prosecutor Evliya Caliskan called for 31-and-a-half years for Dundar and 10 years jail for Gul, who also faces the same charge of “revealing or gathering information belonging to state that should be classified as political or military espionage”.

In the argument, the prosecution said: “National and international legal norms show us that just like any other right and freedom, freedom of the press is not limitless and this liberty has its limits”.

As examples of foreign media observing state secrecy, the prosecution cited U.S. broadcaster CNN’s refusal to screen information released by spy-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden and British newspaper The Guardian’s self-imposed limitation on the Snowden data.

Caliskan also revealed espionage charges against the pair were being separated from the trial as it could not be shown they were spying for a specific country. The prosecution had previously sought life sentences against both defendants in a trial that began on March 25 and has largely been held behind closed doors.

The defendants were arrested in late November and held in prison until Feb. 26, when the Constitutional Court ruled their rights had been violated and ordered their release.

The case relates to searches carried out on MIT trucks on two occasions in January 2014. In May last year, Cumhuriyet ran a story and images claiming to show the discovery of arms in the Syria-bound trucks.