By: Tiffany Walker
Journalists are imprisioned all the time, however, not by one of America’s closest allies. A VICE News journalist has spent over one hundred days in a maximum-security prison in Turkey. The reporter’s name is Mohammed Rasool, and his VICE News team lawyer from Turkey was shot dead at the end of November. Rasool and two other British VICE News reporters were arrested while they were covering the conflict between the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and Turkish forces. The two other journalists have been released, but Rasool remains behind bars.
Rasool is being accused of helping a terrorist organization, but he maintains he was only doing his job—reporting events. Rasool is not alone though, 30 other journalists are currently in Turkish prisons. Many have reported that since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s victory in the November election, many journalists have met the same fate as Rasool. This is a reminder of the human rights violations of some of the United States’ closest allies. Turkey has been seen as a progressive link between Europe and the Middle East. However, these arrests set Turkey back on the progressive human rights scale.
The imprisonment of these journalists is problematic on many levels. First, Turkey is restricting free speech by punishing journalists who report on controversial topics. Also, Turkey is holding the journalists in a pre-trial investigation that can last for as long as Turkish officials want. Rasool like many reporters wrongfully imprisoned, has left behind a family and friends. He has a life waiting for him outside out prison. There is a petition circulating for his release that can be found at VICENews.com.