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Vice News Crew Faces Terrorism Charges in Turkey

The media company calls the charges against detained journalists ”unsubstantiated“

Two Vice News reporters and their two colleagues will appear in court on Monday in Turkey to face terrorism charges after being detained on Thursday.

Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, two British journalists for Vice, were taken into custody with their driver and fixer in the city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey. Although initially detained for filming without accreditation, the charges have now evolved to supporting ISIS.

Authorities seized their cameras and raided their hotel rooms. The journalists “face unsubstantiated charges of terrorism” in court, a Vice News spokesperson said. “Vice News continues to work vigorously with all relevant authorities to secure the safe release of our four colleagues.”

Amnesty International condemned the allegations, calling the journalists’ detainment “bizarre.”

“It is completely proper that that journalists should cover this important story,” the human rights group said. “The decision to detain the journalists was wrong, while the allegation of assisting the Islamic State is unsubstantiated, outrageous, and bizarre.”

The charges against the Vice crew comes on the heels of three Al Jazeera journalists being sentenced to three years in an Egyptian prison on Saturday after a long ordeal with Egypt’s court over charges they aided the Muslim Brotherhood. Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste were detained at the end of 2013 and have been imprisoned in Egypt ever since. 

The trio has denied any wrongdoing and were expecting to be exonerated or sentenced to time served and released.