Friday 13 December 2019

Vice News reporter freed on bail after 131 days in Turkish jail

Mohammed Rasool has been freed on bail by Turkey
Mohammed Rasool has been freed on bail by Turkey

Vice News journalist Mohammed Rasool has been released on bail after 131 days in a Turkish prison.

Rasool's arrest on charges of assisting a terrorist organisation has been widely criticised by the international media.

The 25-year-old, who was arrested in August while covering the conflict in Turkey's mostly Kurdish south-east, will be required to report to a police station twice a week and is barred from leaving the country.

Vice News said: "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."

The Iraqi Kurd was working as a news assistant and translator when he was detained along with two other Vice News journalists - Britons Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury - in the city of Diyarbakir on August 27.

The two UK journalists were released after 11 days and deported, while Rasool was sent to a high-security prison.

The three journalists had travelled to towns along Turkey's border with Iraq, the centre of renewed violence between Kurdish militants and government forces.

Rasool's detention came amid a rise in prosecutions of journalists in Turkey, many charged with anti-terrorism offences and under laws against insulting the president.

Media advocacy groups had criticised his detention and called for his immediate release.

Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said: "We are relieved that Mohammed Ismael Rasool is free on bail after spending 131 days in a high-security prison on trumped-up terrorism charges.

"We urge Turkish authorities to drop all charges against him and allow him to travel and work freely."

Rasool has previously worked as a news assistant for the Associated Press and other media organisations.

PA Media

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