September 03, 2015
DIYARBAKIR: Turkish authorities on Thursday released two British reporters working for US-based media outlet Vice News who were being held on terror charges in a case that amplified concerns over press freedom in the country.
But their Iraqi translator remained under arrest on charges of assisting the Islamic State extremist group, legal sources told AFP, quoting a court decision.
The three, along with their driver, were detained late on August 27 in the centre of Kurdish-dominated Diyarbakir by police acting on a tip-off.
They were then remanded in custody by a court in Diyarbakir on Monday on charges of "engaging in terror activity" on behalf of IS. The driver however was released.
Vice News, which produces in-depth Internet video reports, confirmed that British journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury had been released following a court hearing in Diyarbakir.
But the group said it was "deeply worried by reports" that their Iraqi translator Mohammed Ismael Rasool had had his appeal for release rejected by the Diyarbakir court.
"Rasool is an experienced journalist and translator who has worked extensively across the Middle East with Vice News, Associated Press, and Al-Jazeera," it said.
"We call on the Turkish authorities for a swift end to this unjust detainment and to grant his immediate release."
It was not immediately clear if the two British reporters will face further legal proceedings or if they are free to leave Turkey.
Vice News had condemned the charges as "baseless" and "alarmingly false", while leading rights groups have called for the immediate release of the reporters.
On Wednesday, the Turkish authorities transferred the three to a jail in the southern city of Adana 500 kilometres (300 miles) from Diyarbakir, creating further controversy.
The official explanation by the court over why they were charged has yet to be published. - AFP
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