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Vice News journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury freed from prison

Published 03/09/2015

Vice News cameraman Philip Pendlebury who, along with correspondent Jake Hanrahan, could face months in prison
Vice News cameraman Philip Pendlebury who, along with correspondent Jake Hanrahan, could face months in prison

Two British journalists arrested in Turkey on terror charges have been released from prison, their employer Vice News confirmed.

Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury were arrested while filming in the south-east region of Diyarbakir.

Vice News said it received confirmation from the Foreign Office both journalists had been released from a Turkish prison, but added their colleague Mohammed Ismael Rasool is still in custody.

In a statement it said: "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.

"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."

All three men were detained while filming clashes between police and youth members of the pro-Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) last Thursday.

They were charged on Monday accused of "working on behalf of a terrorist organisation" and, allegedly, with "assisting Islamic State" (Isis).

Before the journalists were released the Foreign Office said Britain expected Turkey to uphold its obligations to freedom of expression under international agreements.

A spokesman said: "Respect for freedom of expression and the right of media to operate without restriction are fundamental in any democratic society.

"Turkey is a state party to the European Convention on Human Rights and UN Declaration of Human Rights. We would expect the Turkish authorities to uphold the obligations enshrined in those agreements."

Mr Pendlebury has filmed in countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea, Mr Hanrahan has also written for The Guardian, the Independent, Wired, and Rolling Stone Middle East.

Having earlier dismissed the allegations against Mr Pendlebury, 30, as "ludicrous", his sister Alex Pendlebury took to social media to express her happiness at the "nightmare" coming to and end.

She posted on Facebook: "I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am. This has been the most difficult week of our lives but now the nightmare is over!

"I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to each and every one of you, because without you this wouldn't have happened!

"From the bottom of my heart thank you so much!!"

She ended by asking people to share the post, using the hashtag "freevicenewstaff".

Both British journalists have been transferred to a migration department deportation centre in Adana, and British consular officials in Turkey are liaising with them and local officials.

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