Turkey: Free expression groups welcome release of Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury

British journalist Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury were arrested last Thursday, 27 August, whilst reporting from south-eastern Turkey along with two VICE News colleagues. One colleague was later released but Hanrahan, Pendlebury and their colleague Mohammed Ismael Rasool were subsequently charged with ‘working on behalf of a terrorist organisation’. They were reportedly moved to a high security prison on Wednesday 2 September, before being released earlier today, 3 September.

While we warmly welcome the news that Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury have been released we nevertheless remain seriously concerned for Mohammed Ismael Rasool. Reports suggest that Rasool is still in detention, and we join VICE News in continuing to call on the Turkish authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.

Following their arrest last Thursday, 27 August, English PEN, PEN International and Index on Censorship wrote to the EU, the Council of Europe, of which Turkey and the UK are members, and to the UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to raise the case. Today’s release comes a day after the Foreign Office issued a statement echoing the groups’ concerns and reminding Turkey of their international obligations.

PEN has also been inviting members around the world to show their concern for the detained journalists on social media, by writing directly to the Turkish authorities, and by sending messages of support.

We also remain extremely concerned about the current crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. We recognise that Turkey is facing a period of heightened tension. However at such a time it is more important than ever that both domestic and international journalists are allowed to do their vital work without intimidation, reporting on matters of global interest and concern.


Send a message of support

  • Send a message of support to Mohammed Ismael Rasool via: cat@englishpen.org or ann.harrison@pen-international.org
  • Tweet your support for Mohammed Ismael Rasool with the handle @vicenews and hashtags #FreeViceNewsStaff #FreeRasool

Write to the authorities

  • Calling on the Turkish authorities to release Mohammed Ismael Rasool immediately;
  • Urging the authorities to allow journalists to fulfil their essential role of reporting events that are in the public interest and of international concern at a time of tension in Turkey and throughout the region;
  • Reminding the authorities that Turkey has the obligation to respect the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which it is a state party.

Appeals to:

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Sarayı
06560, Beştepe
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 525 58 31
Email: cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr
Twitter: @RT_Erdogan

Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ
Milli Müdafaa Caddesi No: 22
06659, Kızılay
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 419 33 70
Email: bekir.bozdag@tbmm.gov.tr; ozelkalem@adalet.gov.tr
Twitter: @bybekirbozdag

His Excellency Mr. Abdurrahman Bilgic
Turkish Embassy
43 Belgrave Square
United Kingdom
Fax: +44 20 73 93 00 66, +44 20 73 93 92 13
Email: embassy.london@mfa.gov.tr
Twitter: @TurkEmbLondon

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

View all posts by Cat Lucas →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *