THE Wigan cameraman arrested in Turkey on terrorism charges had an emotional reunion with his family after flying home yesterday.
Phil Pendlebury and his Vice News colleague Jake Hanrahan arrived in London after boarding a plane in Turkey in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Phil’s parents, Heather and John, and sister Alex, travelled south to meet up with him, and issued a statement thanking everyone for their support during their week-long ordeal.
Phil, Jake and translator Mohammed Rasool, were arrested on August 27, while filming fighting between Turkish police an demonstrators from the Kurdish rights group PKK in the troubled Diyarbakir region of the country.
Seven days later, last Thursday, after intense global pressure and an international campaign, Phil and Jake were released from prison and moved to a deportation centre in Adana. However the courts refused to grant bail to translator Mohammed.
The family statement said: “We are extremely relieved that Phil and Jake are home. We would like to thank everybody who has helped secure their release and supported us through this difficult time.
We would like to thank everybody who has helped secure their release and supported us through this difficult timeThe Pendlebury family
“We would particularly like to say a huge thank you to the team at Vice, the Wigan Evening Post, the Foreign Office and our MP Lisa Nandy, all our family and friends and the people of Wigan for their kind words of support. Thank you all so much.
“Our thoughts are still with Phil’s colleague Mohammed and hope he is released very soon.”
The safe arrival of the two journalists was confirmed by Vice News at lunchtime.
A spokesman said: “VICE News is pleased to confirm two of our journalists, Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury have been released from a Turkish prison and have returned to the UK. Both are in good health and spirits, but they - and everyone else at VICE News - remain extremely concerned for our third colleague, Mohammed Ismael Rasool, who is still being held.
“VICE News continues to work around the clock with all relevant government and legal representatives to secure his release. We call on the Turkish authorities to continue their positive course of action in freeing Jake and Philip, and releasing Rasool immediately.”