Confirmed: Wigan journalist released from Turkish prison

Phil Pendlebury
Phil Pendlebury

WIGAN journalist Philip Pendlebury and colleague Jake Hanrahan have been released from a Turkish prison.

The pair, who work for VICE news, were arrested in Turkey last week on Terror charges with allegations of connections with ISIS.

However, Mohammed Ismael Rasool – the Iraqi translator they were working with – remains behind bars.

A spokesman for VICE news said: “While we are grateful that they have been freed, we are deeply worried by reports that our other VICE News colleague, Mohammed Ismael Rasool, has had his appeal of release rejected by the Turkish government. Rasool is an experienced journalist and translator who has worked extensively across the Middle East with VICE News, Associated Press, and Al Jazeera.

We call on the Turkish authorities for a swift end to this unjust detainment and to grant his immediate release.”

Phil’s sister Alex has also spoken of her family’s relief.

She tweeted: “I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am. This has been the most difficult week of our lives but now the nightmare is over!

“I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to each and every one of you, because without you this wouldn’t have happened!

“From the bottom of my heart thank you so much!!”

Phil and Jake have been sent to a deportation centre where they will remain for several days while the authorities decide whether they should be immediately sent home or bailed.

And their Turkey-based Iraqi translator and journalist Mohammed Ismael Rasool remains in custody. One national newspaper has alleged that, acting on a tip-off, investigators had found a type of encrytpion on his computer that was known also to be used by Islamic State terrorists, although colleagues say he was using standard encryption found on any British mobile or computer.