An Al Jazeera journalist has been detained in Israel for more than a week: Samir Allawi, 46, who heads the network's office in Kabul, Afghanistan, was arrested on August 10 after a three-week family visit in the West Bank.
Last night his remand was extended for another week.
Yesterday he was brought before a military judge. That's when he learned what charges he was facing, he reportedly said: membership in Hamas and making contact with members of the group's military faction.
Allawi rejected the charges, and claimed through his lawyer that they were trumped up solely to keep him behind bars.
Two days ago, Al Jazeera reported that its reporter had been jailed. The move was also condemned by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which called on Israel to justify the arrest.
Allawi was arrested while trying to return from Sebastia, where his family lives, to Jordan. He holds a Jordanian passport and a Palestinian identity card, and was arrested at the Allenby Crossing, where he entered Israel three weeks earlier.
According to Walid al-Omri, who heads Al Jazeera's office in Israel, Allawi was taken to Kishon Prison where he was interrogated for 96 hours about his work and his contacts
"Allawi's attorney said that during his questioning, he was not told what charges he was facing," Al-Omri said. "The first time he learned of the charges [were before the military court] and he denies them," Al-Omri added.
Government Press Office head Oren Helman stated, "We heard about the matter but it is not within the realm of our responsibilities."
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