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Assailant tries to shoot journalist Can Dundar outside Turkish court

A gunman has shot at prominent Turkish journalist Can Dundar outside a courthouse in Istanbul. Dundar is on trial for allegedly revealing state secrets in reports on arms smuggling to Syria, published in "Cumhuriyet."

Shots were fired on Friday at Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily "Cumhuriyet," outside the courthouse in Istanbul where he is on trial with a colleague, Erdem Gul.

The shooting happened as Dundar was briefing journalists on what will probably be the last day of the trial. The gunman is believed to have shouted "traitor" as he fired.

Witnesses and a lawyer report that Dundar was not injured although another reporter was lightly wounded.

Turkish television footage showed the shooter being arrested without putting up any resistance.

Verdict due

The shooting happened before the verdict in the trial was due to be announced on Friday.

Dundar and Gul, the Ankara bureau chief for "Cumhuriyet," could face life in jail on charges of espionage and for attempting to topple the government. They have been charged with publishing footage that purported to show Turkey's state intelligence agency taking weapons into Syria in 2014.

Lawyers for the accused said that the prosecutor did not call for the espionage charge in his closing statement but still called for Dundar to be jailed for 25 years for procuring and revealing state secrets. He called for a term of 10 years for Gul for publishing the secrets.

Presidential role

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was one of the complainants in the trial, accusing the men of undermining Turkey's international reputation. He said Dundar would "pay a heavy price."

Erdogan has admitted that the trucks stopped by gendarmerie and police officers on their way to the Syrian border in January 2014 were owned by the National Intelligence Organization. He claimed they were carrying aid to Turkmen fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the self-declared "Islamic State."

Gul and Dundar spent 92 days in jail before a court ruled in February that pre-trial detention was unfounded.

jm/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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