Two VICE News journalists freed from Turkish jail

Two VICE News journalists freed from Turkish jail

Two VICE News journalists freed from Turkish jail

Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury

Two VICE News journalists arrested earlier this week in Turkey’s southeast on charges of having links to a terrorist organization have been released, a Turkish government source told the Hürriyet Daily News on Sept. 3, while the Iraqi translator is still under arrest.

A local court in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır has ruled for the release of the two British journalists, correspondent Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury, reporters for VICE News, on Sept. 3, while their Turkey-based translator of Iraqi-origin, Muhammed Ismail, continues to be under arrest on grounds the digital data collected could not be fully investigated, Doğan News Agency reported.  

The three were detained last week in Diyarbakır, the main city of Turkey’s mostly Kurdish southeast, where renewed fighting has killed scores of people.

A court order formally arrested the three late Aug. 30 on charges of aiding a terror organization. All three have rejected the accusation.

Although the Aug. 27 tipoff that led to the Aug. 28 detention of the two journalists claimed they had helped the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the court issued the ruling for their arrest on suspicion they had supported the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern Mardin, Şırnak and Diyarbakır provinces.

The abbreviations and English translations of organizations linked to the PKK written in a notebook were mentioned in the evidence seized by the police during the journalists’ arrest.

Turkish authorities transferred the arrested journalists to a prison more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) away from their lawyers and the courthouse where they face trial, a lawyer said Sept. 3.

The United States and European Union had both expressed their concern over the arrest, in line with international rights organizations.