Global Rights Groups Call for Turkey to Release Detained VICE News Journalists

By Burak Su (Gezi parkı) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Burak Su (Gezi parkı) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Global rights groups have issued calls seeking the immediate release of four journalists working for VICE News who have been detained in Turkey since Thursday without being charged.

Turkish authorities took British journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury into custody while they were reporting with two other colleagues — a fixer and a driver — in the city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey.

While security sources initially said the journalists were being detained for filming without government accreditation, they have since been accused of supporting the so-called Islamic State (IS). The journalists are expected to appear in court on Monday.

Authorities also seized camera equipment that belonged to the journalists, and searched their hotel rooms.

Amnesty International, PEN International, and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) have all condemned the detentions.

In a statement, Amnesty International called the allegations put forth by Turkish authorities “bizarre.”

“It is completely proper that that journalists should cover this important story,” the human rights group said. “The decision to detain the journalists was wrong, while the allegation of assisting the Islamic State is unsubstantiated, outrageous, and bizarre.”

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