Turkish opposition journalist Can Dündar narrowly escaped an assassination attempt outside a courthouse in Istanbul where he is on trial accused of revealing state secrets.
The shooting happened during a break in the court proceedings where Dundar was awaiting a verdict that could see him imprisoned for life.
Dündar, editor-in-chief of the leading opposition daily Cumhuriyet and Gül, the newspaper’s Ankara bureau chief, face life sentences for publishing a story that said Turkey was delivering arms to Islamist rebels in Syria.
The Mirror reports:
The shooting came just before the court was due to announce its verdict on the intended victim, Can Dundar.
The assailant shouted fired at least three shots in rapid succession, the Reuters witness said.
The assailant shouted “traitor” before firing at least three shots in quick succession at Can Dundar, the Reuters witness said.
Mr Dundar was unharmed but another reporter covering his trial was shot in the leg.
The gunman was later arrested by police.
Crowds of reporters were waiting outside the courthouse for the verdict in the closed-door trial.
The case has drawn international criticism of the EU candidate nation’s press freedom record.
Mr Dundar, editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper, and Erdem Gul, its Ankara bureau chief, could face life in jail on espionage charges and attempting to topple the government for publishing footage that purported to show Turkey’s state intelligence agency ferrying weapons into Syria in 2014.
Speaking before the verdict, Mr Dundar said: “We are now on trial for our story: for acquiring and publishing state secrets.
“This confirms journalism is on trial, making our defence easier and a conviction harder.”
President Tayyip Erdogan, who joined the trial as a complainant, accused the men of undermining Turkey’s international reputation and vowed Mr Dundar would “pay a heavy price”.
President Erdogan has acknowledged that the trucks, which were stopped by gendarmerie and police officers en route to the Syrian border in January 2014, belonged to the National Intelligence Organisation.
He said they were carrying aid to Turkmen battling both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Islamic State.
Mr Gul and Mr Dundar spent 92 days in jail, almost half of it in solitary confinement, before the constitutional court ruled in February that pre-trial detention was unfounded because the charges stemmed from their journalism.
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