Dec. 23 (UPI) -- A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced exiled journalist Can Dundar to 27 years in prison on charges of espionage and aiding a terrorist group.
The sentencing was related to a 2015 report and video published by Dundar's newspaper, Cumhuriyet, accusing Turkey's intelligence agency of secretly funneling weapons to Syria.
Attorneys for Dundar, who has been in exile in Germany since 2016, refused to attend the sentencing, saying the court failed to present even the "appearance of being impartial and independent."
They also criticized the ruling, accusing the court of carrying out orders from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government and violating Dundar's rights.
"We were expecting this outcome for five years," Dundar told CBS News. "They were trying to find the right judge who would make this silly verdict because it's not easy to charge someone for spying without any evidence."
Dundar was arrested alongside Cumhuriyet colleague Erdem Gul in 2015, and both were convicted on espionage-related charges a year later. Dundar was attacked by a gunman outside the courthouse during the trial.
Prior to Dundar's arrest, Erdogan said that the person responsible for the article "will pay a heavy price."
"This all began with the president giving his word referring to this news article. We see that the president kept his promise. His promise is hanging somewhere in that courtroom," said Tora Pekin, an attorney for Dundar.
An appeals court overturned the convictions and Gul was acquitted in a June 2018 retrial, while Dundar was found guilty in absentia, as he was already in Germany.
Dundar said his lawyers will appeal Wednesday's ruling to the European Court of Human rights, but said he does not "expect anything from it because it's under control of Erdogan."
"Everyone knows that these decisions and rulings are political and not judicial," he said.