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Police in Turkey say VICE journalists 'suspected of helping Isis'

Amnesty International has called the claim “unsubstantiated, outrageous and bizarre”.
Aug 30th 2015, 8:03 PM 22,395 35

Updated 8.02pm

POLICE SOURCES IN Turkey say journalists for VICE News detained in the country are being held on suspicion of assisting Islamic State.

The sources were quoted by Amnesty International, which has launched a campaign for the release of the journalists.

VICE News said in a statement that it would continues “to work vigorously with all relevant authorities to secure the safe release of our four colleagues”.

Two UK-based journalists, Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury and a third journalist were detained by anti-terrorism police officers on Thursday night in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakır in south-east Turkey.

Vice confirmed today that a fourth journalist was also being held, without giving any further identifying information.

The detentions took place while the journalists were filming clashes between police and pro-Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) youths taking place in the city, according to the media company.

The journalists’ lawyer told Amnesty their hotel rooms had been searched and their camera equipment and footage impounded by police.

They were initially supposed to be taken to court today, but the hearing has now been postponed until tomorrow.

“This is yet another example of the Turkish authorities suppressing the reporting of stories that are embarrassing to them. They should release the journalists immediately,” Amnesty International’s Turkey Researcher Andrew Gardner said.

“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.”
Speaking to the AP news agency, a Turkish official said the three journalists initially detained had been held because they didn’t have the proper accreditation.

jake Jake Hanrahan Source: Jake Hanrahan/Twitter

In its statement, Vice confirmed:“Four VICE News journalists have now been detained without charge for three days in Diyarbakir, Turkey while reporting in the region.
“They are due in court tomorrow (Monday August 31st) where they face unsubstantiated charges of terrorism.”

The Committee for the Protection of JournalistsPEN International and other groups have also called for the release of the journalists.

According to Amnesty:

Journalists in Turkey have come under increased obstructions while filming or reporting from the region, with the escalation of violence between the PKK and the security forces that has occurred since 20 July 2015, effectively ending a three-year cease-fire and a fragile peace process.

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Daragh Brophy

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