Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu was sentenced on Feb. 13 to five years and 10 months in prison for leaking classified material to a newspaper.
The appeals court turned over a local Istanbul court’s decision on June 14, 2017 to sentence the jailed lawmaker to 25 years, lifting accusations of espionage and aiding a terrorist organization.
However, the first degree appeals court found him guilty of “revealing classified information that should remain secret for the security of the state and its domestic and international benefit.”
Berberoğlu was accused of allegedly leaking footage purporting to show National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks sending weapons to Syria to former daily Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar. In December 2017, the prosecutor also demanded up to 15 years in jail for Dündar, who is being trialed in absentia and is in Germany.
Berberoğlu is the first CHP lawmaker to be given prison time, after the lifting of parliamentary immunities in 2016.
Berberoğlu joined the hearing on Feb. 13 via the voice and video informatics system (SEGBİS) from the Maltepe prison in Istanbul.
“I started out with 25 years and it has been reduced to five years. Do not be demoralized,” Berberoğlu told the audience in the courtroom.
Opposition leader slams Berberoğlu’s sentence
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the sentence handed to Berberoğlu.
“We do not accept this sentence. My brother Enis, do not worry. You will definitely be acquitted. We know that,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Feb. 13, speaking at the CHP’s group meeting in parliament.
Speaking after the trial, Berberoğlu’s lawyer Murat Ergün suggested his client would be released from prison in one year and 10 months.
“The court today rejected accusations regarding espionage and aiding a terror organization. This is significant,” said Ergün, adding that the trial process has shown that Berberoğlu was innocent.
Ergün also said he would demand Berberoğlu’s release case be taken to the Court of Appeals.
“Even if our appeal yields no result, we will continue to demand Berberoglu’s release from the Court of Appeals,” he added.