Vice News Journalists Detained in Turkey Are Freed; Fixer Remains in Detention

by Reuters, Christoper Essner and Alastair Jamieson /  / Updated 
Image: VICE News has received confirmation from the British government that two of its journalists had been released - Philip Pendlebury (left) and Jake Hanrahan.
VICE News has received confirmation from the British government that two of its journalists had been released - Philip Pendlebury (left) and Jake Hanrahan.Vice

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Two Vice News journalists arrested in Turkey on charges of “aiding a terrorist organization” were released from prison but their Iraqi colleague remains in detention, the news organization said Thursday.

Reporter Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury, both British, were arrested last Friday in a Kurdish area of southeastern Turkey while filming clashes between security forces and Kurdish militants.

A Turkish court on Thursday freed the two but ruled to keep their Iraqi fixer in custody pending investigation, according to Reuters.

Vice News spokeswoman Meera Pattni said the organization was "grateful" Hanrahan and Pendlebury had been freed but was "deeply worried by reports that our other VICE News colleague, Mohammed Ismael Rasool, has had his appeal of release rejected" by Turkish authorities.

“Rasool is an experienced journalist and translator who has worked extensively across the Middle East with VICE News, Associated Press, and Al Jazeera," Pattni said in a statement. "We call on the Turkish authorities for a swift end to this unjust detainment and to grant his immediate release."

The arrest of the trio sparked uproar from rights groups and raised concerns about Ankara's record on press freedoms at a time when Turkey is taking on a bigger role in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in Syria and cracking down on Kurdish militants at home.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has fought a three-decade insurgency for greater Kurdish autonomy, in which some 40,000 people have been killed. Turkey and the United States consider the group a terrorist organization.

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