Two British journalists working for Vice News were reportedly released from Turkish prison Thursday. Citing an anonymous official, the Associated Press reported that the correspondents, Philip Pendlebury and Jake Hanrahan, had been freed. Their Iraqi translator, Mohammed Ismael Rasool, remained in custody due to a pending investigation.
The trio was arrested Aug. 27 in Diyarbakir, Turkey, for not having government accreditation to film the conflict between the country's security forces and members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, International Business Times previously reported. Their driver was also detained but quickly released.
The three men were charged Monday for aiding a terrorist organization, which they've denied. Pendlebury, Hanrahan and Rasool have been accused of having connections with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Turkey considers terrorists, as well as the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS. The reporters were transferred Wednesday to a prison that had English guards and inmates but was far from their attorneys.
— VICE UK (@VICEUK) September 3, 2015
Human rights groups like the Committee for the Protection of Journalists have condemned the journalists' arrest and indictment, which they argued was a systematic attempt to discourage reporters from covering the clashes in the region. The Kurds' decades-old fight with government resumed earlier this year after the militants shot two police officers, and Turkey launched airstrikes in Iraq, ending their 2013 ceasefire.
Turkey imprisoned seven members of the working media last year and has "a reputation as a leading jailer of journalists," according to the committee.
“It is completely proper that journalists should cover this important story. The decision to detain the journalists was wrong, while the allegation of assisting [the] Islamic State [group] is unsubstantiated, outrageous and bizarre,” Amnesty International researcher Andrew Gardner said in a statement. “This is yet another example of the Turkish authorities suppressing the reporting of stories that are embarrassing to them."