The İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Tuesday overturned a regional court of justice decision made on October 9 overturning a prison sentence of 25 years to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu over a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to rebels in Syria.
The İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court initially handed down a life sentence to Berberoğlu on June 14, but it was later reduced to 25 years “in consideration of the sentence’s possible effects on the future of the convicted.” Berberoğlu was convicted of “revealing state information that was supposed to remain secret for the purpose of political and military spying.”
However, a regional court of justice overturned the high criminal court’s decision on October 9.
According to the Diken news portal, on Tuesday, the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court took the law in its own hands one more time, and overturned the regional court’s decision for retrial.
When the MİT truck story first broke in 2015, it produced a political firestorm in Turkey about the role of the Turkish spy agency in arming rebel factions in Syria and prompted an investigation into Cumhuriyet daily journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, who published the report.
They were first jailed while facing trial on spy charges for publishing footage purporting to show MİT transporting weapons to Syria in 2014. Later, the two journalists were released pending trial.
When Dündar later published a book titled “We Are Arrested,” he mapped out the details of the news story on May 27, 2015, saying that a leftist lawmaker brought the information to him. Upon that revelation, the İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office launched a new investigation and examined Dündar’s phone calls during the days leading up to the publication of the story.
The prosecutor’s office detected a phone conversation between CHP deputy Berberoğlu and Dündar on May 27.
A new indictment was drafted naming Berberoğlu.
In September 2016, an İstanbul court decided to merge the trial of journalists Dündar and Gül with that of Berberoğlu.
In order to protest the court decision, main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu launched a “March of Justice” on June 15 in Ankara which ended at Maltepe Prison in İstanbul, where Berberoğlu is jailed.