Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera has denied Israeli accusations that its journalists have ties to Palestinian militant group Hamas

Credit: Joi on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Al Jazeera has hit back at Israel over accusations that its Kabul bureau chief Samer Allawi, is also an operative for Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Allawi was released by Israel yesterday, having been convicted after 49 days in detention of working for Hamas – which is defined as a terrorist group by the US, Britiain and the EU – and using his position at Al Jazeera to aid the group.

A statement issued by the office of the Israeli prime minister also accused the network of being "exploited by Hamas, which makes use of Al Jazeera journalists in order to advance its goals".

According to Israeli authorities, Allawi confessed to working for Hamas as part of a plea bargain to secure his release. He is alleged to have worked for the Palestinian group since 1993. He was also sentenced to time served and a 5,000 Shekel (£900) fine.

Al Jazeera said today that the release of Allawi was "
a clear indication that the accusation was baseless".

"Al Jazeera believes that the accusations are part of a concerted campaign to discredit the network and the integrity of its journalist," the statement adds.

The network has levelled several of its own accusations against Israeli authorities, claiming that Allawi was regularly denied access to his lawyer, family and doctor during his 49-day detention, and that Israeli officials obtained passwords for the networks online email and news systems.

A spokesman for Al Jazeera said: "While Samer has been released, the grounds for his extended detention are inexcusable: the false accusations made against him changed over the weeks as one accusation changed to another, finally settling upon an assertions that a Hamas official made a request to him at an open press conference.  

"Allawi's detention has been completely baseless. There was no clear process to this military detention. We continue to hold the Israeli authorities responsible for these blatant breaches of human rights and for causing psychological trauma for Allawi, his wife, children, and his extended family through this ordeal."

Allawi was
arrested at the border between the West Bank and Jordan on 9 August. Al Jazeera claims the correspondent was returning after a visit to his family.

He has been based in Afghanistan since 2005.

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