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Turkey Releases Vice News Reporter After More Than 100 Days In Jail

Mohammed Rasool, a fixer for Vice News, was imprisoned in August for 131 days, following accusations of aiding "terrorist organisations." He is out on bail.

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Rasool, 24, was detained in Diyarbakir, a largely Kurdish region of southeastern Turkey, on Aug. 27 while covering anti-government protests. Two British reporters detained along with him — Jake Hanrahan and Phillip Pendlebury — were released and deported back to the U.K. a few days afterward.

Although Rasool was not charged during his time in prison, he was accused by Turkish police of supporting and aiding terrorist groups.

Vice also said that decisions on whether to prosecute Rasool have consistently been delayed as authorities claimed they needed to examine an alleged encrypted file on his computer.

While he was detained, journalists across the world campaigned for his release. His case was taken up by a number of charities and free speech organizations, including Amnesty International, PEN international and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Turkey has an increasingly poor record on press freedoms — officials routinely jail journalists critical of the government. The Turkish government has also become extremely sensitive about coverage of the unrest in Kurdish areas, as the region spirals into a new round of bloodshed between the military and the PKK.

In a statement released on Tuesday, a spokesperson from Vice said: : "Today, VICE News is pleased to confirm its reporter, Mohammed Rasool has been released on bail having been held in a Turkish prison for 131 days.

Along with his journalist colleagues, Phil Pendlebury and Jake Hanrahan, Rasool was arrested and imprisoned by Turkish police on August 27th 2015, while reporting in the region for VICE News."

The statement adds: "Rasool is now looking forward to being reunited with his family, friends and colleagues, who ask for his privacy to be respected during this time."

Hussein Kesvani is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Hussein Kesvani at Hussein.Kesvani@BuzzFeed.com.

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