Two British journalists working for ‘Vice News’ and their assistant who were arrested in Turkey on terror-related charges, have been transferred to a prison more than 500 kilometres from their lawyers and the courthouse where they face trial, a lawyer stated on Wednesday.
Journalist Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury, and their Turkey-based assistant were detained last week in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish south-east, where renewed fighting has killed a number of people.
Following a court order, the three were formally arrested late on 30th August on charges of aiding a terror organisation. All three have denied the accusation.
Tahir Elci, head of the Diyarbakir lawyers’ association, told The Associated Press by telephone in Diyarbakir that the three men had been transported to a prison in Adana, southern Turkey, on the grounds that there were English-speaking wardens and inmates there. Elci, however, said the move would hamper their defence.
Kevin Sutcliffe, Head of Vice News’ programming in Europe, said the journalists were transported to a high-security prison where suspects convicted or accused of terror-related charges are kept, sometimes in isolation. “This move appears to be a blatant obstruction of the fair legal process that Turkey has repeatedly pledged to uphold,” said Sutcliffe. “We call on the Turkish government to throw out these ridiculous charges and immediately release our colleagues.”
Their arrests have prompted strong protests from media rights advocates, the US and the European Union.