Turkey Arrests Vice Journalists on Charges of Working with ISIS

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

A plethora of NGOs and civil society groups have demanded that Turkey release two British journalists, along with their driver and translator, who were imprisoned on Thursday for “engaging in acts on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIS).

The journalists, who are employees of the New York City-based VICE News, were reporting on the rift between Turkish police and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey.

Although the reporters continued to be detained, no formal charges appeared to be filed against them, according to a VICE spokesman, who told Poynter.

But that changed Monday when a Turkish court remanded the VICE journalists in custody, according to AFP.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Amnesty International and Pens International have called upon Turkish authorities to release the journalists immediately

“We call on Diyarbakir authorities to immediately release Jake Hanrahan, Philip Pendlebury, and their fixer, and allow them to continue working in the region,” said CPJ Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova.

“It is completely proper that that journalists should cover this important story. The decision to detain the journalists was wrong, while the allegation of assisting Islamic state is unsubstantiated, outrageous and bizarre,” Amnesty International Turkey Researcher, Andrew Gardner, said of the arrest.

Other reports claim that the journalists were detained for reporting without proper press credentials, according to Today’s Zaman.

Further information will likely come forward on Monday, as the four men are scheduled to appear before a judge at some point during the day.

A senior Turkish official told Al Jazeera regarding their case: “It is up to the judiciary now. They will appear at court in the afternoon. And if there are no illegal findings about them, it is likely that they will be released.”


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