Four members of a VICE News crew were arrested by Turkish police on Thursday, August 27, in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir located in south-east Turkey. The reporters are scheduled to appear in court on Monday to face allegations of terrorism and assisting ISIS.
Although no charges have yet been filed against the journalists, a Vice News spokesperson said they “will face unsubstantiated charges of terrorism when they appear in court on Monday.”
Amnesty International has confirmed through police sources in Diyabakir that the journalists were being held on suspicion of assisting the Islamic State, and the journalist’s lawyers have said their news equipment as well as film footage has been impounded.
Global rights groups including Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) are calling for an immediate release of all four reporters.
Amnesty International stated: “It is completely proper that journalists should cover this important story. The decision to detain the journalists was wrong, while the allegation of assisting Islamic state is unsubstantiated, outrageous and bizarre.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists stated: “Talking to all parties involved in a conflict is just good journalism. Being ‘in close contact’ with their sources is what reporters do.”
The crew includes British journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendelbury as well as their fixer and driver. Turkish authorities also seized camera equipment while searching their hotel rooms.