October 21, 2015


The WILD Joins VICE News in Calling for Turkey’s
Immediate Release of Journalist Mohammed Rasool

VICE News in partnership with the Committee to Protect Journalists demands the immediate release of journalist Mohammed Ismael Rasool, who has been detained by Turkish authorities for more than seven weeks. The VICE correspondent, a twenty-four-year-old Iraqi Kurd reporting from Turkey, was arrested on vague charges of terrorism alongside fellow journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury. Hanrahan and Pendlebury, British nationals, were released after eleven days following appeal, while Rasool remains behind bars in a maximum security prison.

Today, VICE and CPJ launched a petition calling for Rasool’s release in an effort to incite public pressure on Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The U.S. government, for its part, urged Turkish authorities to uphold “universal democratic values” and maintain due process in Rasool’s case, according to State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

Rasool is one of twenty-four journalists imprisoned by government authorities in the country, reports Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association. That number was as high as ninety-four in 2012, making Turkey the global leader in jailing reporters. The sometimes lauded, relatively stable Middle East nation is a NATO member with hopes of joining the E.U.

Rasool alongside the two British journalists were on assignment at the Turkish-Iraqi border, a renewed hotbed of conflict that, over the last two decades, has seen violent fights between supporters of the militant Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, and government authorities, according to the New York Times. Though his charges remain unclear, police have accused Rasool of supporting both the PKK and ISIS—this despite the two groups being sworn enemies to each other. Local lawyers have not been provided with evidence against Rasool, nor a timeline for his indictment or release.

A student of journalism at Istanbul’s Fatih University, the twenty-four-year-old has worked for VICE News and the Associated press as a fixer, an on-the-ground aid to foreign correspondents, and as a reporter covering the Kurdish conflict and Syrian refugee crisis. Street smarts, passion, and intellect contribute to Rasool’s value as a journalist; he speaks English, Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish and Persian, fluently.

Vice Media head Shane Smith encourages supporters to sign this change.org petition and use the social media hashtag #FreeRasool to raise awareness of the situation.

Mohammed Rasool’s father, Ismail Rasool, told the Times that despite the uncertainty, he remains optimistic: “Humans can’t live without hope.”

sign the change.org petition and raise awareness using hashtag #FreeRasool

Mohammed
Rasool

related: an interview with international wartime reporter Ramita Navai

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text by: Blaine Skrainka










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