Vice News journalists accused of affiliation with PKK

Turkish court said "affiliation with the outlawed PKK without being a part of its hierarchical structure" led to the arrest of Vice News journalists

Photo by: Twitter
Photo by: Twitter

Jacob Hanrahan is among the three journalist who were arrested in Diyarbakir.

Updated Sep 3, 2015

Second Criminal Court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir has stated the reason for the arrest of the Vice News staff members was their "possible" affiliation with the outlawed militant group PKK.

The evidence was seized during the arrest of the journalists, Anadolu Agency reported.

Three staff members from Vice News - two British journalists Jacob Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, and Iraqi translator Mohammed Ismael Rasool, were arrested by police at the behest of a Turkish court in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir on August 31.  

According to the court records, a police search conducted in the hotel room of the trio, revealed a diary that allegedly contained information about the organizational structure, activities and members of the PKK, and its affiliate, Kurdish Communities Union (KCK); as well as information about the group’s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan.

The diary reportedly contained information about other militant groups as well, including the far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), and the outlawed militant Turkish Communist Party - Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML), which is a far-left organization carrying out illegal activities and armed attacks aimed at establishing Marxist-Leninist rule in the country.

All four groups are listed as terrorist organizations by Turkey.

The report also stated that other evidence, such as footage filmed by the journalists, showing the militants of the PKK’s youth wing while preparing Molotov cocktails and homemade explosives.

Following the investigation of these evidences, the court decided to arrest the three for "knowingly and willfully helping the armed terrorist organization without being a part of its hierarchical structure.”

PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, NATO, the US, and EU. The group has been carrying out terror attacks, mostly in southeastern Turkey, since the early 1980s.

The attacks have escalated in Turkey after a ceasefire with the outlawed PKK ended on July 11, when its umbrella organization - the Group of Communities (KCK) - announced that the ceasefire was over.

Since then, at least 71 security officers and more than 15 civilians have been killed in numerous terror attacks launched by the PKK, mostly in the southeastern region of the country.

Meanwhile, judicial sources stated that the arrest decision of the journalists came after the Diyarbakir police stated that they had concerns about the multiple contradictions in the defendants’ testimonies.

It is also mentioned, that a military-grade encryption system was discovered on the Iraqi translator’s personal computer,  he has refused to decrypt the encryption system so an official review can be conducted.  This is presenting further suspicions about the true nature of the journalists.

Following the discovery of the encryption system on the translator’s computer, Turkish cyber-security experts determined that the system is commonly used by ISIS members.

TRTWorld, AA