A Turkish court sentenced a Syrian national on Wednesday to over 12 years in prison for allegedly spying in refugee camps near the border with the conflict-wracked nation, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The court had initially sentenced Sbahi Hamdo and his Turkish accomplice to 15 years in prison for "gathering confidential state information with the aim of political or military espionage". Their sentences were both reduced to 12.5 years.
The prosecutor accused the two men, arrested in October 2011, of filming at refugee camps in the southern Turkish province of Hatay which borders Syria, as well as nearby military lodgings. The indictment also accused Hamdo of stirring up trouble in the camps and provoking refugees to carry out an attack against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he visited.
Hamdo denied the charges, saying that he worked at the University of Aleppo in Syria and had visited Hatay to search for a missing relative.
Turkey is currently home to at least 115,000 Syrians fleeing the escalating 20-month conflict as well as army defectors who are sheltered in several camps along the 960-kilometre (560-mile) border.