A Turkish court leveled formal charges of terrorism at two VICE News journalists and their colleague on Monday, as global rights groups have called for the reporters to be released.
The details of the arrest and what the journalists are charged with was shady due to the court order of secrecy on the investigation. Internet newspaper Radikal’s İsmail Saymaz reported today that the journalists were detained by the police with the suspicion of collaboration with ISIS but they were questioned about PKK due to the recordings on their cameras.
According to the story, an anonymous informant called the police on August 27 and said journalist Jacop Philip John Gingell-Hanrahan, cameraman Philip John Pendlebury, fixer Muhammed İsmail Resul and driver Abdurrahman Direkçi were collaborating with the ISIS. The police detained the four with this claim but they were questioned about PKK, not ISIS. The journalists were questioned about their camera recordings (including scenes from clashes and interviews with Kurdish rebels) and personal notes on the PKK.
The prosecution transferred the suspects to the Diyarbakır 2nd Court of Public Peace with a demand of arrest. The court released the driver and arrested the other three for “knowingly and willingly aiding an armed organization despite not being featured in its hierarchy.” The 100th article of the Criminal Procedure of Turkey was the base of the arrest order. The article is about the courts’ authority to arrest with the justifications of the possibility of suspects’ escape and the presence of reasonable evidence or suspicion that a crime was committed.
CNN Turkey also reported that the journalists did not have the necessary accreditation papers required to operate in Turkey.