Two journalists working for VICE News have reportedly been arrested and charged with “engaging in terror activity” in southeastern Turkey. The AFP reports that a Turkish court has accused Jake Hanrahan, Philip Pendlebury, and their Iraqi translator of allegedly attempting to aid ISIS.
Hanrahan, Pendlebury, their translator, and their driver were arrested in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on Thursday. The driver has since been released. According to Reuters, the group was initially detained for lacking proper identification.
The trio had been in the region filming clashes between police and Kurdish militants, Vice News has said.
Violent exchanges between security forces and youths from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have erupted in the region in recent days.
The BBC understands the group were asked if they were PKK members and members of the so-called Islamic State during interrogation.
UPDATE 2:18 pm: A statement from VICE News:
“Today the Turkish government has leveled baseless and alarmingly false charges of ‘working on behalf of a terrorist organization’ against three VICE News reporters, in an attempt to intimidate and censor their coverage. Prior to being unjustly detained, these journalists were reporting and documenting the situation in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir.
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. We continue to work with all relevant authorities to expedite the safe release of our three colleagues and friends.” - Kevin Sutcliffe, Head of News Programming Europe, VICE