Photograph: Szustka

An Istanbul court on Friday sentenced two Turkish journalists to five years in prison over a report they published last year about alleged arms shipments from Turkey to Syria.

The sentences came shortly after a dramatic incident outside the courthouse in which one of the defendants was nearly shot by a man who shouted, "You're a traitor to your country."

Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, and Erdem Gul, the left-wing daily's bureau chief in Ankara, were both found guilty of reaveling state secrets.

Dundar received a five-year-and-10 month sentence, while Gul received five years, according to a dpa reporter in the courtroom.

Two hours before the sentencing, Dundar survived unscathed an attempt on his life when a gunman fired at him during a break in the proceedings.

Dundar's wife, Dilek Dundar, rushed the gunman as he drew his weapon and grabbed his throat. Dilek Dundar said she heard the assailant call her husband a traitor while firing the gun at Dundar. She described her reaction to grab his throat a "reflex." The gunman was quickly arrested without resistance, according to broadcaster CNN Turk.

Dundar, who says he has been the subject of death threats, told reporters that he held President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responsible: "I do not know the assassin, but I know exactly who encouraged him and made me the target."

Erdogan, a plaintiff in the case along with the Turkish secret service, had promised the pair would pay a "heavy price" for their reporting.

CNN Turk identified Dundar's attacker as a man aged around 40 from the central Anatolian town of Sivas, but did not name him.

The two journalists had been accused of multiple charges that could have resulted in life imprisonment if found guilty.

But on two of the most serious accusations - espionage and attempting to overthrow the government - they were ruled innocent.

Dundar and Gul still face a separate charge of aiding a terrorist organization, which will be dealt with at another trial.

Dundar's lawyer, Bulent Utku, said his client would appeal the verdict.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based press freedom watchdog, condemned Turkey for the sentencing.

"Leading Turkish journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul were unjustly sentenced today, but what was really on trial was the Turkish criminal system, which is guilty of gross misconduct," said Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director.

The case against them concerned an article last May in which Cumhuriyet reported that it had evidence that Turkey's secret service had arranged in early 2014 for weapons shipments across the border to aid Islamist rebels fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Although Ankara has repeatedly called for al-Assad's removal, it denies arming rebel fighters.

Both Dundar and Gul spent three months in jail on remand before the Constitutional Court ordered their release in late February.

The trial began on March 25, sparking outrage among leading human rights groups and press freedom watchdogs.

Dundar said of Friday's verdict: "That was a legal attack intended to silence all journalists in Turkey."

Turkey ranks 161 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index.

Latest news

Plane crashes at airport in Melbourne

A five-passenger charter plane has crashed into a building next to Essendon Airport in Melbourne, with witnesses reporting explosions, fire and black smoke, police said Tuesday.

Air France pilots give green light to lower cost subsidiary

Members of Air France's main pilots union on Monday voted to accept the creation of a new lower cost subsidiary that the flag carrier hopes will help it compete on long-haul routes.

US Army General McMaster tapped as Trump's national security advisor

Army Lieutenant General HR McMaster will be the new White House national security advisor, US President Donald Trump told reporters Monday.

Greece's creditors want sweeping reforms before next bailout payment

Greece must make sweeping reforms to its labour market, pension system and collective bargaining agreements in order to receive its next vital bailout payment, the country's European creditors said Monday.

President wants to recall "politically appointed ambassadors", can't do it without gov't

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that many politically appointed Croatian ambassadors were not carrying out state policies but that she could not replace them without the government to appoint career diplomats who would fight for Croatia's interests.

Izetbegovic hopes ICJ will confirm Serbia's responsibility for genocide

The Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, on Monday rejected criticism stirred up by the announcement that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement made after Bosnia sued Serbia for genocide.

British lawmakers locked in heated debate over Trump's state visit

Allowing US President Donald Trump to visit Britain would be akin to "pimping out the Queen," one British lawmaker said Monday during a heated debate in British parliament over two petitions concerning the US leader's future state visit.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's sharp-tongued ambassador to the UN, dies

Russia's long-time ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York on Monday, following a career that spanned four decades and saw Russia emerge from the Soviet Union and experience many turbulent events in its relations with the West.

French police raid National Front over European Parliament payments

France's far-right National Front Monday said that investigators had searched its offices in relation to allegations that it misused European Parliament funds.

Unhappy Presidents' Day: Trump still manoeuvring after Sweden comment

Donald Trump used his first Presidents' Day in office to continue trying to talk his way out of comments implying a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened.

Croatia supports Kosovo's territorial integrity - Grabar-Kitarovic

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday expressed the support to Kosovo's territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations during her talks with the visiting Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj.

Petrov rules out early parliamentary election

Parliament Speaker and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov on Monday dismissed speculation about a reshuffle of the parliamentary majority, saying an early election was likelier, but that right now he did not see "such a scenario."