Two 'Vice' journalists freed from prison in Turkey, translator still in custody

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Two Vice journalists being held in a Turkish prison on charges of "engaging in terror activity" on behalf of ISIS have been released, the news outlet said in a statement this morning, but their Iraqi translator remains in custody.

The two English journalists, Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, were released after spending several days in prison. Mohammed Ismael Rasool, an Iraqi translator based in Turkey, is still being held by authorities.

"While we are grateful that they have been freed, we are deeply worried by reports that our other VICE News colleague, Mohammed Ismael Rasool, has had his appeal of release rejected by the Turkish government," the statement said. "Rasool is an experienced journalist and translator who has worked extensively across the Middle East with VICE News, Associated Press, and Al Jazeera. We call on the Turkish authorities for a swift end to this unjust detainment and to grant his immediate release."

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The three men and their driver were in the southern Turkish province of Diyarbakir reporting on clashes between law enforcement and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) when they were arrested last week. The driver was released soon after.

The arrests were condemned by human rights and press freedom groups immediately.

"This is yet another example of the Turkish authorities suppressing the reporting of stories that are embarrassing to them," said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's Turkey Researcher in a statement.

Amnesty writes that the Turkish authorities have a "dismal record" of abusing anti-terrorism laws to suppress press reports.

“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," said Gardner.

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