RAMALLAH, September 27 (JMCC) - Al-Jazeera's Kabul bureau chief, Samer Allawi, was released Monday with a suspended sentence after spending six weeks in Israeli prison.
Allawi, a Palestinian, was arrested in August while leaving the West Bank after visiting family. He was sentenced to three years for membership in Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist organization, reports Global Post
Allawi has maintained his innocence from the beginning, saying that Israel sought to recruit him as an informant. He has now returned to Afghanistan.
The Jerusalem Post [cites security sources who say] the Palestinian was recruited into Hamas in 1993.
During the interrogation with the Shin Bet, Allawi said he attended a meeting in 2000 in Saudi Arabia in which he said he would be part of a terror operation on behalf of Hamas. He also offered to use his position as a reporter to promote Hamas interests, it states.
However, Allawi's Al Jazeera network reports that the journalist said Monday that his contacts with Palestinian Islamists were part of his work as a journalist.
There was no evidence against me, he told Reuters. The whole arrest episode was a charade aimed at extorting Al Jazeera. I was not the target.