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VICE News Journalists Charged With Terror Offences In Turkey
Karl Smith , September 1st, 2015 11:29

Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury were arrested on Thursday evening, questioned over links with Kurdish militants and ISIS and have now been formally charged with “working on behalf of a terrorist organisation”

UPDATE: VICE's Kevin Sutcliffe, Head Of News Programming in Europe at the company, has called upon the Turkish government to release the three VICE journalists currently being held by authorities. Offering an update on their situation, his statement reads: "VICE News’ team of three journalists—who remain detained in Turkey for entirely baseless and absurd charges—have now been transported to a prison facility more than five hours away from where their legal representation is based, and from the court where they are due to appear. This move appears to be a blatant obstruction of the fair legal process that Turkey has repeatedly pledged to uphold. We call on the Turkish government to throw out these ridiculous charges and immediately release our colleagues."

Two British journalists reporting in the country for VICE have been formally charged with “working on behalf of a terrorist organisation” by a Turkish court.

Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury were detained by Turkish police on Thursday evening, along with their fixer and their driver (the latter of whom has since been released), while filming clashes between police and militants in the Diyarbakir region of the country.

According to the BBC, “police interrogated them about alleged links to Islamic State and Kurdish militants” — charges which they deny and which VICE News calls "baseless and alarmingly false".

Kevin Sutcliffe, VICE’s European Head of News Programming released an official statement via the media platform stating 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" and providing assurance that they “continue to work with all relevant authorities to expedite the safe release of our three colleagues and friends.”

Tension in the region has escalated in recent weeks and months with violent clashes between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdish Worker’s Party (KPP) becoming increasingly regular, widespread and frequently fatal.

According to English PEN, president Erdoğan “has intensified his efforts to crush all critical coverage, but most particularly coverage of the escalating conflicts in the predominantly Kurdish southeast," claiming that the former Prime Minister aims “to control the story. If these journalists are left to languish in prison, he will have had his way.”

As well as VICE itself, the incident has attracted condemnation from human rights organisations including Amnesty International, who assert the necessity of the coverage and that “the decision to detain the journalists was wrong, while the allegation of assisting the Islamic State is unsubstantiated, outrageous, and bizarre.”