Turkey sentences journalist Baransu to 17 years in jail in second court verdict

The Turkish courts sentenced investigative journalist Mehmet Baransu to 17 years and one month in prison on Monday after jailing him for almost 20 years in July.

Baransu was found guilty of disclosing classified Turkish intelligence information in an article he wrote in 2013 for the now-defunct Taraf newspaper on plans by high ranking military officials to take down the Gülen movement, Doğan News Agency reported.

The movement, formerly allied with the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), is now designated as a terrorist organisation and accused by Turkey of orchestrating a failed military coup in 2016

On July 19, a Turkish judge also found Baransu guilty of illegally obtaining and publishing state documents and of having links to the Gülen group, run by Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen from the United States. That sentence carried a jail term of 19 years and six months. 

Baransu has been behind bars since March 2015 when charges were brought against staff of Taraf, which was shut down in 2016. Taraf was the first newspaper to report on an alleged military coup plot dating back to 2003 and known as Sledgehammer, based on documents obtained by Baransu.

It has since been alleged that Sledgehammer was fabricated by the Gülen movement to get rid of its secular enemies in the military.