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Oct 02 2018

Journalist Can Dündar slams verdict on gun attack he survived

A Turkish court on Tuesday sentenced a gunman who attempted to shoot exiled journalist Can Dundar, Turkish opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper's former editor-in-chief, to 10 months in jail, T24 reported.

However, the court acquitted him of malicious injury, instead, sentencing him for possession of an unregistered firearm.

Dündar criticised the verdict as being ''absurdly light'' and likely to encourage further attacks.

"This penalty is a commendation medal given to a person who pointed a gun at a journalist," Dündar said on social media. "And it's a support message for future attackers telling them not to worry because the state supports them," he added. 

When the gunman fired, Dündar and crowds of reporters were waiting outside the court during a break in the hearing. Although Dündar was unharmed in the attack, NTV television reported that one of its reporters had suffered minor injuries from ricocheting bullets.

"What is the punishment of firing a gun at a journalist in Turkey? Acquittal. If the assailant injures another mistakenly? 4,500 Turkish lira ($750)."

"And, the court did instalments for the fine owing to the convict's poor financial status," he added.

Dündar and Erdem Gül, Cumhuriyet newspaper's former Ankara bureau chief, were acquitted on charges of trying to overthrow the government, but convicted of publishing secret state documents revealing the alleged weapons shipment to Syria.

Dündar was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison and Gül to five years. Both journalists also still face charges of helping an armed organisation.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who joined the trial as a complainant, previously accused Dündar of undermining Turkey’s international reputation, vowing that he would “pay a heavy price”.

Dündar now lives in exile in Germany. During Erdoğan's state visit to Germany, he was expected to cancel the news conference, after hearing the news that federal press bureau accredited Dündar.

"I suppose you know that Can Dündar is an agent, a person who has disclosed the confidential information of the state and has been sentenced to 5 years and ten months in prison. This person came to Germany. This person is a convict according to the Turkish judiciary. He is an agent," Erdoğan said during the press conference in Berlin.