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Journalist acquitted

(BIANET/IFEX) - 7 June 2010 - The Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court acquitted Milliyet newspaper reporter Nedim Şener in the case related to his book entitled "The Dink murder and the intelligence lies". Şener stood accused of "violation of secrecy" and "identifying officials on anti-terrorist duties as targets".

In the book, he wrote about the negligence and attempts to cover up the negligence of gendarmerie, police and the Turkish secret service prior to the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007.

In the previous hearing on 28 April, the prosecutor had demanded a three-year prison sentence under charges of "identifying people as targets for terror organizations". Şener was sued by Ramazan Akyürek, former Chief of Police in Trabzon (Black Sea coast), Ali Fuat Yılmazer, Deputy Chief of the Istanbul Police, intelligence police officer Muhittin Zenit and Intelligence Branch Manager of the Trabzon Police Directorate Faruk Sarı.

The complaint was filed against Şener because he "obtained and published confidential information" based on the transcript of a phone call between police informant Zenit and Erhan Tuncel half an hour after the murder of Hrant Dink.

However, in the 4 June hearing, the court announced that the names of the complainants and some of their code names were included in the Hrant Dink murder trial file at the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court and thus confidentiality had already been lifted.

Şener's lawyer Yücel Döşemeci requested the acquittal of his client. In his final plea he reiterated his demand not to punish Şener because of a violation of secrecy. "If it is not a violation of secrecy to publish the documents, how can it be seen as a breach of law to publish the included information?" Döşemeci asked.

Döşemeci stated that his client merely took the effort for the public benefit to disclose illegal actions of public officials regarding a murder case that is being followed around the world.

Döşemeci drew attention to the fact that Şener was among a group of 60 journalists chosen as international "press heroes" by the International Press Institute (IPI). Moreover, Şener received the Award for Press Freedom from the Turkish Publishers Association (TYB) on 3 June.

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