Wigan journalist arrested in Turkey

Phil Pendlebury
Phil Pendlebury

A WIGAN man is one of two British journalists charged with “working on behalf of a terrorist organisation” in Turkey.

Phil Pendlebury was arrested while filming in the south-east region of Diyarbakir with colleague Jake Hanrahan.

The pair were yesterday (Monday) charged with allegedly “assisting Islamic State” and are now due to stand trial.

News of the arrest has sparked fury in the UK with Amnesty International claiming it is another examply of the Turkish authorities “suppressing the reporting of stories that are embarrassing to them”.

Vice News have also condemned the reporters being “unjustly detained”, adding that it is an attempt to silence them, while Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has called for their immediate release.

Phil, 29, whose parents live in Whitley, has been working for Vice for more than a year after moving to London.

Diyarbakir, Turkey

Diyarbakir, Turkey

Kevin Sutcliffe, Vice head of news programming in Europe, said: “Today the Turkish government has levelled baseless and alarmingly false charges of ‘working on behalf of a terrorist organisation’ against three Vice News reporters, in an attempt to intimidate and censor their coverage.

“Prior to being unjustly detained, these journalists were reporting and documenting the situation in the south-eastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir.

“Vice News condemns in the strongest possible terms the Turkish government’s attempts to silence our reporters who have been providing vital coverage from the region.

“We continue to work with all relevant authorities to expedite the safe release of our three colleagues and friends.”

This is yet another example of the Turkish authorities suppressing the reporting of stories that are embarrassing to them

Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International

Wigan MP Ms Nandy said: “This is clearly a worrying time for the families of all three journalists detained in Turkey. My priority is to work with the family to ensure that the Foreign Office uses the full weight of British diplomatic pressure in order to secure Philip’s immediate release.”

The British pair were arrested alongside a Turkish colleague.

Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of all three journalists.

Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey Researcher, said: “This is yet another example of the Turkish authorities suppressing the reporting of stories that are embarrassing to them. They should release the journalists immediately.

“It is completely proper that journalists should cover this important story.

“The decision to detain the journalists was wrong, while the allegation of assisting Islamic State is unsubstantiated, outrageous and bizarre.”

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We are providing consular assistance and are in touch with the relevant authorities following the arrest of two British nationals in Diyarbakir.”