Detained Syrian journalist released

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A Syrian journalist who was arrested on Wednesday in Turkey has been released without charge and with no explanation as to why he was detained, he announced on Facebook.
However Rami Jarrah said in his post that his detention appeared to be related to his work in Syria.

His arrest caused concern among media groups, who called for his release.

Jarrah – who met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in January – was held in the city of Gaziantep.
He was reported to be applying for a residence permit at the time.

“The location I was transferred to late Wednesday evening contained prisoners that were all held under the same suspicion of being terrorist elements, all have not been charged and some have been there for up to nine months after having being declared innocent by a court of law,” Mr Jarrah said in his Facebook post.

“It disturbs me that I was placed in this situation given my background and obvious distance from such an accusation.”

The reporter said that while he understood the pressure the Turkish government is under and the responsibility it has to prevent terrorism, a little more research by the authorities would have prevented unnecessary hardship.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said at the time of his arrest that Syrian journalists should be protected rather than detained.

Jarrah founded the independent citizen journalist group Ana Press, providing reports to international media, after leaving Syria.

He was initially held in a detention facility for foreign citizens, but was moved to a different facility on Thursday, the CPJ said.

Supporters say Jarrah is well known for his independent reporting, often carried out at great personal risk.

Jarrah, who was brought up in the UK, fled Syria with his wife and child in 2011, fearing that he was in danger, but continued to go back to report.

Turkey ranks 149th among the 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index 2015.
Several media organisations in Turkey have reported that more than 30 journalists are currently behind bars.
Most of the detainees are of Kurdish origin.

However, the government has argued that journalism in Turkey is among the most free in the world.

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