UK 'concerned' over arrest of two Vice News journalists in Turkey

UK 'concerned' over arrest of two Vice News journalists in Turkey

Britain has stepped up pressure on Turkey over the arrest of two British journalists on terror charges, reminding the authorities in Ankara of their duty to uphold human rights law.

The Foreign Office said it was "concerned" at the detention of Vice News correspondent Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury who have been charged with assisting the so-called Islamic State.

The two men were held together with a Turkey-based colleague, Mohammed Ismael Rasool, while filming clashes between police and youth members of the pro-Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) last Thursday in the south-east city of Diyarbakir.

Vice News has describe the charges against them as "baseless and false" and an "attempt to intimidate and censor their coverage".

In a statement, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said that Britain expected Turkey to uphold its obligations to freedom of express under international agreements.

"Respect for freedom of expression and the right of media to operate without restriction are fundamental in any democratic society," the spokeswoman said.

"Turkey is a state party to the European Convention on Human Rights and UN Declaration of Human Rights. We would expect the Turkish authorities to uphold the obligations enshrined in those agreements."

A report on the Vice News website said that the three men had been transferred to a high-security "F-type" prison facility more than five hours away from where their legal representatives are based, and from the court where they are due to appear.

Kevin Sutcliffe, Vice’s head of news programming in Europe, said: "This move appears to be a blatant obstruction of the fair legal process that Turkey has repeatedly pledged to uphold.

"We call on the Turkish government to throw out these ridiculous charges and immediately release our colleagues."

Vice said Mr Hanrahan and Mr Pendlebury were both experienced reporters, who had together covered the migrant crisis in Calais, the Scottish referendum, Irish republicanism, and other stories.

Mr Pendlebury had filmed in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea, Mr Hanrahan had also written for The Guardian, the Independent, Wired, and Rolling Stone Middle East.

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