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Canadian reporters said free after arrest by Turkish police

June 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM   |   Comments

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ISTANBUL, Turkey, June 13 (UPI) -- Two Canadian journalists say they have been released by Turkish police who had detained them as they covered the protests in Istanbul.

Sasa Petricic and Derek Stoffel, with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., tweeted news of their freedom Thursday, a day after they were detained, the CBC reported.

"We're out," Petricic said. "Arrested taking pics of city crew removing protester barricade. Accused [of] impeding road words & resisting arrest."

Stoffel wrote, "My exclusive 'tour' of the Turkish justice system is over!"

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Turkish ambassador to Canada, Tuncy Babali, had worked to secure the journalists' release.

Babali told the CBC he hadn't been aware of the arrests of Petricic and Stoffel until Baird contacted him. The ambassador said he didn't know why they had been detained.

The House of Commons had unanimously approved a motion condemning the arrests of the journalists and calling for their release.

Petricic tweeted of his arrest about 6 p.m., local time, Wednesday.

Protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decision to bulldoze a popular Istanbul park to build a mall have resulted in the deaths of three people as of Monday night. Some 5,000 more are reported to have been treated for injuries or exposure to tear gas.

Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday it was becoming "increasingly concerned" about the dangerous conditions under which journalists were covering the protests.

Earlier this year, the organization called Turkey "the world's biggest prison for journalists."

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