Turks release Kurdish journalist after 4 months of baseless detention
Vice journalist Mohammed Rasool has been released from prison on bail in Turkey almost four months after being arrested along with two British colleagues.
Turkish authorities have said Rasool’s detention, which lasted 131 days, was “a protective measure”. No bail payment was made, but he is required to report to his local police station twice a week and cannot leave the country.
Rasool was detained on 27 August, along with Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury, while filming clashes between police and youth members of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.
Hanrahan and Pendlebury were released and deported after 11 days, however Rasool, who is an Iraqi citizen, remained behind bars charged with assisting a terrorist organisation.
A Vice spokesperson said: “Today, Vice News is pleased to confirm its reporter Mohammed Rasoolhas been released on bail having been held in a Turkish prison for 131 days.
“Rasool is now looking forward to being reunited with his family, friends and colleagues, who ask for his privacy to be respected during this time.”
His ongoing imprisonment was condemned in September by free speech organisations and writers including Hanif Kureishi. In October, Vice blacked out all its online properties for two hours to highlight Rasool’s plight.
Rasool’s incarceration came during a government crackdown on the media in Turkey, which has seen western journalists expelled, news outlets shut down and local journalists and publishers locked up.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey was the fifth worst imprisoner of journalists last year, with 14 in jail as of 1 December. Only Iran, Eritrea, China and Egypt were worse.