Turkey jails two 'Vice' journalists, translator for allegedly supporting ISIS

Carl Court

Two British journalists and their Iraqi translator working for American-based media outlet Vice will remain in a Turkish prison awaiting trial on charges of "engaging in terror activity" on behalf of ISIS, Agence France Presse reports.

Jake Hanrahan, Philip Pendlebury, their translator, and a driver were arrested by police on Friday for reporting without a government permit in the Turkish province of Diyarbakir, according to Al Jazeera,  where there have been ongoing clashes between local police and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The driver, AFP reports, has since been released.

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Two days before he was detained, Hanrahan tweeted pictures taken while reporting on the conflict:

https://twitter.com/Jake_Hanrahan/status/636464874936246272

"They were detained at a sensitive area for questioning. It was hard to understand who is what in that particular area where there were security issue going on," a Turkish government official told Al Jazeera.

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According to Middle East Eye, a Vice spokesperson said in a statement that the crew will "face unsubstantiated charges of terrorism," adding that "VICE News continues to work vigorously with all relevant authorities to secure the safe release of our four colleagues."

Press freedom advocates, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, have condemned their arrest. "We call on Diyarbakir authorities to immediately release Jake Hanrahan, Philip Pendlebury, and their fixer, and allow them to continue working in the region," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said in a statement.

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Ognianova said that reporters have every right to cover the conflict without being targeted by authorities. "The renewed clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish separatists in the volatile southeast are of public interest to both domestic and international audiences. Authorities ought to protect, not gag journalists on the job," she said.

Last month, another Vice journalist wrote a story about being embedded with ISIS.

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