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UK Vice News journalists released from Turkish prison

Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury were filming clashes between pro-Kurdish youths and security forces, Vice said Image copyright PA
Image caption Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury were filming clashes between Kurdish youths and security forces, Vice said

Two British Vice News journalists arrested in Turkey on terror charges have been freed, the media group says.

Correspondent Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury were arrested while filming in the south-east region of Diyarbakir one week ago.

They were charged with "working on behalf of a terrorist organisation" and questioned over alleged links to Islamic State and Kurdish militants.

Their translator, Iraqi Mohammed Ismael Rasool, reportedly remains in custody.

Their lawyer, Ahmet Ay, told the BBC a Turkish court had accepted an appeal of release for Mr Hanrahan, from Northampton, and Mr Pendlebury, from Wigan.

However, the court rejected an appeal for Mr Rasool's release, saying material on his computer was still being investigated.

"We are planning to appeal to this decision as well, most probably next week. We think all the three journalists' actions were within the frame of journalism," he said.

'Unjust detainment'

The two British men were now being taken from the high security prison where they were held to the immigration bureau, he said.

He said there was no court decision asking for their deportation, and the trial will continue in their absence. As yet, no date is set for the first hearing.

Vice News released a statement saying it was grateful for the release of two of their journalists, but calling for a "swift end to this unjust detainment" of Mr Rasool.

Mr Rasool was an experienced journalist and translator who had worked extensively across the Middle East with news outlets including Associated Press and Al Jazeera, it said.

Image copyright Vice News
Image caption Turkey-based Iraqi journalist and translator Mohammed Ismael Rasool reportedly remains in custody

The three men had been in the area filming clashes between police and youths from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which have erupted in recent weeks, according to Vice News.

Turkey has limited journalists' access to the region.

The authorities came under criticism for detaining the group, including from Amnesty International, which described the charges as "bizarre".

On Wednesday, the Foreign Office expressed "concerned" at the arrests, saying it expected Turkey to uphold its obligation to uphold press freedom according to EU and UN human rights law.

Vice News is an international news organisation which publishes documentaries and written news, focusing on "under-reported stories from around the globe".

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