Opposition politician given more than 5 years over report in Cumhuriyet newspaper

13 February 2018

Enis Berberoğlu, a deputy of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and a former journalist, was given five years and 10 months in prison by an appellate court on charges of "disclosing state documents that should have remained secret" in a trial concluded on 13 February 2018. 

Berberoğlu, who has also served in the past as the editor-in-chief of the Hürriyet newspaper, appeared before the 2nd Chamber of the Istanbul  Regional Court of Justice in a case where he has been imprisoned since 14 June 2017. 

The member of parliament was being accused of political and military espionage for his role in supplying images to the Cumhuriyet newspaper that suggested that Turkish government sent weapons to jihadists in Syria. Two other journalists, Erdem Gül and Can Dündar from Cumhuriyet, are also on trial over the same news report, which is commonly called the "MİT trucks" case in Turkey as the images show trucks laden with weapons allegedly owned by the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) en route to Syria. 

After his conviction, Berberoğlu, who attended via video-conferencing, told the audience in the courtroom: "Don't let this get you down, they started with 25 years and went down to five years". Prosecutors initially sought 25 years for him on espionage charges. 

Berberoğlu's lawyer Murat Ergün said they would file an objection to the appellate court's ruling not to release Berberoğlu from prison. He further said, "We can call this decision as the best of the worst. He should have been acquitted but this decision rejects the prosecutor's claims that were unacceptable."