News ID: 132055
Published: 0821 GMT December 01, 2015

Turkey court rejects appeal for detained investigative jounalists

Turkey court rejects appeal for detained investigative jounalists

A Turkish court has rejected an appeal against the detention of two top investigative journalists who blew the lid off Ankara’s arms delivery to the Takfiri terror groups operating in neighboring Syria.

The higher Istanbul court on Tuesday threw out the appeal from lawyers for the Cumhuriyet daily's editor-in-chief Can Dundar and its Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul, who had been arrested last week.

The court also charged the pair with "aiding a terrorist organization" and spying for alleging that Turkey's state intelligence agency had helped deliver arms to Takfiri militant groups.  

In the appeal, the lawyers had pointed out that the arrests were “against the law, the Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.” 

“The rest is on you. The choice and responsibility is yours,” the lawyers said in the appeal. 

Also on Tuesday, media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) launched an international petition for the release of the two journalists. The RSF petition accuses President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of "waging a methodical crackdown on the media in Turkey for years." 

Meanwhile, Christophe Deloire, the RSF secretary general, said at a news conference in Istanbul that the Turkish authorities appeared to prosecute journalists more than Daesh terrorists.

"The Turkish authorities are targeting the wrong enemy," he said. 

President Erdogan has taken legal action in person against Dündar, requesting life sentence for him. 

The pair face life sentence and an additional 42-year term in prison on counts of charges ranging from espionage to subversion and disclosure of secret information.  

The released footage, which daily Cumhuriyet posted on its website in late May, purportedly showed that trucks belonging to Turkey’s the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) carrying weapons to the Takfiri terror groups operating in neighboring Syria. The Cumhuriyet video also shows trucks of the  MIT being inspected by security officers.

The daily said the trucks were carrying around 1,000 mortar shells, hundreds of grenade launchers and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition for light and heavy weapons. 

The interception of Syria-bound weapons consignments took place in January 2014 in Turkey, when a convoy of MIT trucks loaded with arms and ammunition was stopped and searched near the Syrian border in the southern provinces of Hatay and Adana.

Several security officials who stopped the trucks are currently being tried for “spying” charges.

The incident triggered a huge controversy in Turkey with many bashing the government for explicitly supporting terrorism in neighboring Syria.

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