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Call on Turkey to release VICE fixer Mohammed Ismael Rasool

VICE News

On 27 August, Iraqi journalist Mohammed Ismael Rasool was taken into custody by Turkish authorities while working as a translator and fixer for VICE news in the city of Diyarbakir. Despite the release since of two British colleagues who also worked for VICE, Rasool remains behind bars. IFEX member the Committee to Protect Journalists is working with VICE news to demand his freedom through an online petition addressed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The charges levelled against Rasool were laid under the auspices of Turkey's broad anti-terror legislation, which is often used to criminalize legitimate reporting on the activities of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Rasool's imprisonment is an injustice that stifles objective reporting about the conflict in the southeastern region of the country, and undermines the valuable work of local journalists in supporting the work of western news bureaus such as VICE.

This is but one of many incidents that have occurred as part of a broader State crackdown on legitimate journalism that intensified in the lead-up to the parliamentary elections held on 1 November. A recent emergency mission conducted in cooperation with several press freedom organisations, including a number of IFEX members, found that such repressive measures likely had a serious impact on the ability of voters to make informed decisions about the election.

Free expression organisations around the world are taking notice and acting in solidarity with Rasool and the many other journalists wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey. The Committee to Protect Journalists is one such organisation. In partnership with VICE news, CPJ's petition condemns the grave injustice committed against Mohammed Ismael Rasool and calls for his release.

Please join CPJ, VICE, and the thousands of other voices in sending a strong united message to the Turkish authorities that such attacks on freedom of expression and the press are not acceptable. Sign the petition, and share it with your networks to demonstrate that Rasool is just as deserving of justice as his British colleagues!

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