Israel Arrests al-Jazeera Kabul Bureau Chief in W. Bank

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Israel has arrested the Palestinian head of al-Jazeera's Kabul bureau as he tried to leave the West Bank after visiting his family, the television channel's Jerusalem bureau chief told Agence France Presse on Tuesday.

Walid al-Omary said Samer Allawi was detained on August 10 as he tried to cross to Jordan through the Israeli-controlled Allenby crossing.

On Tuesday morning, he appeared before an Israeli military court in the northern West Bank.

"He is in the military court at the Jenin crossing," Omary told AFP. "Until now they are just investigating him. They are asking him about his relations, his job, what he's doing in Afghanistan."

Omary said Allawi had not been charged with anything so far, or been told why he was being held at the Kishon prison in northern Israel.

He said it was unclear whether charges would be announced at the hearing, or if the session was an administrative procedure to decide whether Allawi would remain in detention.

"We don't know really. The lawyer even has said that they don't know, maybe they will continue to hold him, but until now we don't have any information," Omary said.

"We're just waiting to hear from the court; we're hoping to hear good news."

Omary said Allawi was detained after spending around three weeks with his family as part of his annual leave.

Allawi has had access to a lawyer and said he had been questioned about his contacts with relatives and his work at al-Jazeera bureau in the Afghan capital.

"They're asking him 'Who visited you when you were at your family's house? With whom did you meet? How do you do your job there in Afghanistan? Do you have any contacts with the Taliban?'" Omary said.

On Tuesday, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement calling on Israel "to clarify the legal basis for holding al-Jazeera correspondent Samer Allawi."

"Israel must clarify why it continues to hold Samer Allawi," the group's regional program coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem said.

"Our concern for Allawi's well-being and his legal rights is amplified with every passing day that he is held without due process."

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