VICE News journalist Mohammed Ismael Rasool has been released on bail in Turkey after spending more than four months behind bars on terrorism charges.
Rasool was detained alongside two VICE News colleagues on August 27 and sent to a maximum security prison.
A document issued by a court in Diyarbakir stated that no bail payment was made, that Rasool was detained “as a protective measure,” and he cannot leave the country. He must also report twice a week to a police station near where he lives.
Rasool, Jake Hanrahan, and Philip Pendlebury were reporting on clashes between police and youth members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey when they were apprehended by Turkish authorities and accused of “working on behalf of a terrorist organisation.”
Human rights and freedom of expression organizations around the world demanded the trio’s release. Following an appeal, British journalists Hanrahan and Pendlebury were released on September 3, but Rasool, an Iraqi, was kept prisoner.
VICE News’ statement on the release of Mohammed Rasool:
Today, VICE News is pleased to confirm its reporter, Mohammed Rasool has been released on bail having been held in a Turkish prison for 131 days.
Along with his journalist colleagues, Phil Pendlebury and Jake Hanrahan, Rasool was arrested and imprisoned by Turkish police on August 27 2015, while reporting in the region for VICE News.
Whilst Pendlebury and Hanrahan were released after 11 days, Rasool remained detained for over four months, charged with “assisting a terrorist organisation.”
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.