— The Erimtan Angle —

‘In late August, VICE News reporters Jake Hanrahan, Philip Pendelbury and Mohammed Rasool, were arrested outside their hotel in Diyarbakir, Turkey and charged with supporting a terrorist organization. Prior to their arrest, the trio had been reporting on the conflict between Turkish forces and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). After 11 days in detention, Jake and Phil were released. Mohammed Rasool, however, remains wrongfully imprisoned, and the investigation into all three reporters is “ongoing.” VICE News maintains that the charges against Jake, Phil, and Mohammed are baseless and absurd. We call on the Turkish authorities to continue their positive course of action in freeing Jake and Philip, and release Rasool immediately. Published on Sep 21, 2015′.

The pro-AKP newspaper Daily Sabah reported that the “[t]wo British Vice News journalists who were arrested in Turkey on charges of having links to ISIS, have been released on Thursday [. 3 September 2015], while an Iraqi guide and translator is still under arrest. British journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip John Pendlebury, along with their translator Mohammed Ismael Rasool, were detained on August 27 and arrested on September 1 in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır. The Diyarbakır Second Criminal Court’s earlier decision to arrest the journalists reflected police’s concerns about multiple contradictions in the defendants’ testimonies and the discovery of a military-grade encryption system on one of the suspect’s personal computer, whose contents he refused to decrypt for official review. According to cyber security experts, the encryption system is commonly used by ISIS members, the sources had said”.[1]

The news agency AFP then reported that Hanrahan and Pendlebury’s “return to Britain coincided with the arrest of a Dutch journalist based in southeastern Turkey who covers chiefly Kurdish issues. Frederike Geerdink wrote on Twitter Sunday [6 September] that she had been arrested in the Yuksekova district of Hakkari province while reporting on the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). Geerdink, who was arrested earlier this year on charges of spreading ‘terrorist propaganda’ but later acquitted of the charges, said she was with a group of ‘human shields’ at the time, and that the entire group had been taken into custody. Her case and that of the Vice News reporters have amplified concerns over press freedoms in Turkey, where the government is waging a relentless campaign against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants. Vice News had condemned the charges against its journalists as ‘baseless’ and ‘alarmingly false’, and leading rights groups had called for their immediate release”.[2]

[1] “Two British Vice News journalists arrested in Turkey have been released ” Daily Sabah (03 September 2015). http://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2015/09/03/two-british-vice-news-journalists-arrested-in-turkey-have-been-released.

[2] “Vice News reporters held in Turkey return to Britain” AFP (06 September 2015). http://news.yahoo.com/vice-news-reporters-held-turkey-return-britain-132317328.html.


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