Two Vice News journalists arrested earlier this week in Turkey’s south-east on charges of having links to a terrorist organisation have been released, their lawyer and a Turkish government source has said, AFP reports. But the journalists’ fixer, an Iraqi national, remained in custody pending investigation.
The three were detained last Friday in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir while filming clashes between security forces and Kurdish militants. The charging of journalists Philip Pendlebury and Jake Hanrahan sparked uproar from rights groups and raised concerns about Ankara’s record on press freedoms at a time when Turkey is taking on a bigger role in the US-led coalition against Islamic State in Syria and cracking down on Kurdish militants at home.
Vice News, which condemned the journalists’ arrest and had called the move “an attempt by the Turkish government to silence our reporters” was not immediately available for comment on their release. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has fought a three-decade insurgency for greater Kurdish autonomy, in which some 40,000 people have been killed.
Turkey and the US consider the group a terrorist organisation.