RSF condemns 'judicial persecution' of Turkish journalist Can Dündar

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday condemned what it called Turkey’s political and judicial persecution of journalist Can Dündar.

The former Cumhuriyet newspaper editor-in-chief is facing a possible life sentence in a trial that began on Wednesday over the Gezi Park protests and was already sentenced in absentia in December to 27 years in prison over terror and espionage charges.

Dündar’s “persecution discredits Turkey’s human rights reforms,’’ RSF said.

The treatment of Dündar is a clear illustration of Ankara’s “arbitrary attitude towards its critics,’’ according to RSF Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu, 

“This trial is contrary to the spirit of its vaunted human rights reforms. Turkey cannot aspire to improve its relations with the European Union if it openly flouts the law and justice with this kind of prosecution of a journalist who just did his job,” Önderoğlu said.

The 59-year-old journalist is on trial with six human rights activists in a trial over the Gezi Park protests of 2013. The seven defendants in the case could face a total of 2,970 years in prison.

A Turkish court in December sentenced Dündar, who lives in exile in Germany, to 27 years in prison over opposition daily Cumhuriyet’s coverage of the Turkish intelligence service, MİT, allegedly shipping weapons to Syrian jihadist groups, during his time as the newspaper’s editor-in-chief.