Vice News journalists arrested in Diyarbakir

Three Vice News staff members arrested in southern Turkish province where frequent clashes occur between security forces and PKK terrorists

Photo by: Twitter
Photo by: Twitter

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

Updated Sep 1, 2015

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

The trio were detained in Diyarbakir's Baglar District where the PKK's youth wing, the Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement (YDG-H), frequently clashes with police officers.

According to the Turkish authorities, 13 security officials have been killed by recent PKK terror attacks in Diyarbakir. These are among the 69 security officials including high ranking soldiers and police officers who have been killed in the southern part of Turkey following the Suruc bombing which took place on August 31.

Turkey's Anadolu Agency reported that the three reporters have been charged with "knowingly and willingly helping the armed terrorist organisation without being a part of its hierarchical structure."

According to local judicial sources, the defendants' testimonies had multiple contradictions and the court decision for their arrest has been made subsequently.

It is also said that a military-grade encryption system was discovered on Iraqi translator’s personal computer, whose contents he has refused to decrypt for an official review.

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

Hanrahan and Pendlebury are experienced reporters who have worked together on many significant stories, including the migrant crisis in Calais, the Scottish independence referendum and republicanism in Ireland.

The European director of Vice News Kevin Sutcliff said that "VICE News condemns in the strongest possible terms the Turkish government’s attempts to silence our reporters who have been providing vital coverage from the region." 

"We continue to work with all relevant authorities to expedite the safe release of our three colleagues and friends,” he said.


TRTWorld and agencies