Court finds no grounds to punish Berberoğlu as he was previously convicted of “disclosing confidential information pertaining to the security of the state” over the same publication

The final hearing of Cumhuriyet daily’s former Ankara representative Erdem Gül and opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu in “MIT trucks case” was held on 15 May 2019 at the 14th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

Gül and Berberoğlu were in attendance with their lawyers.

The accusation against Gül and Berberoğlu, “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member,” stems from a news report published in 2015 in Cumhuriyet daily about an alleged weapons transfer to Syria on trucks operated by Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT).

During the first half of the hearing, which was closed to the public, the court heard the final defense statements.

Following a recess, the audience and the press were allowed to enter the courtroom for the announcement of the verdict.

In its verdict on Gül, the court ruled that the type of offense had changed and a new charge of “violating the confidentiality of an investigation” arose, but since the four-month statute of limitations for pressing charges as per Article 26/1 of Turkey’s press law had expired, the court ruled to dismiss the case.

Concerning Berberoğlu’s file, the court ruled that there was no need to render a separate verdict on the charge of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” on the grounds of Berberoğlu’s previous conviction in another trial in relation to the same news report for “disclosing confidential information pertaining to the security of the state,” a charge that “also involves aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” and that has already been upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals. The court also lifted the international travel ban on Berberoğlu.

Court adjourns trial of Can Dündar, awaiting his extradition

The retrial of Can Dündar, Cumhuriyet’s former editor-in-chief, on the charge of “disclosing confidential information for espionage purposes” for the same coverage in Cumhuriyet of the Syria-bound MİT trucks, also resumed on 15 May at the 14th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

In March 2018, the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals had reversed the 14th High Criminal Court’s 6 May 2016 judgment in Dündar’s case and ordered a retrial.

In the fourth hearing held on Wednesday at the 14th High Criminal Court of Istanbul, Dündar’s lawyers and the lawyers representing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the MİT Undersecretary were in attendance.

Dündar’s wife Dilek Dündar watched the hearing that was closed to the public.

In its interim ruling announced at the end of the hearing, the court ruled to wait for the answer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a sample and a translation of the complaint letter written by the head of the Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations to the Presidency of the UN Security Council and the Secretary General about the Government of the Republic of Turkey on 5 June 2015 mentioned in the Supreme Court of Appeals’ remittitur. The court also decided to wait for the response from German judicial authorities concerning Turkey’s extradition request for Dündar and set 31 October 2019 as the date for the next hearing.

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