Mohammed Rasool spent more than four months in prison
He and two other Vice News journalists were charged with helping terrorists
They were reporting on clashes between the PKK and police, Vice says
A Vice News journalist imprisoned in Turkey was released on bail after spending 131 days in prison, the news organization tweeted on Tuesday.
Mohammed Rasool and two British journalists – Phil Pendlebury and Jake Hanrahan – were detained in August of last year, according to Vice.
The three were charged in August with “knowingly and willfully helping the armed terrorist organization without being a part of its hierarchical structure,” according to Turkey’s semiofficial Anadolu news agency.
“Whilst Pendlebury and Hanrahan were released after 11 days, Rasool remained detained for over four months,” Vice said in a statement.
According to Vice, the journalists were reporting on clashes between police and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) when they were detained in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, a heavily Kurdish area.
Turkey, the European Union and the United States list the PKK as a terrorist organization.
“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,” Vice said.
The Committee to Protect Journalists had called on Diyarbakir authorities to release the trio and allow them to resume their work.
“The renewed clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish separatists in the volatile southeast are of public interest to both domestic and international audiences,” Nina Ognianova, the committee’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, said last year. “Authorities ought to protect, not gag journalists on the job.”
The committee said its research indicated that broadly worded anti-terror laws in Turkey have allowed authorities to conflate the coverage of banned groups and sensitive topics with anti-state activity.
At least 13 other journalists are jailed in Turkey, according to CPJ’s Joel Simon.
CNN’s Zeynep Bilginsoy and Lucy Pawle contributed to this report.