Islamic Human Rights Commission
26 September 2005
ALERT UPDATE: Aljazeera’s Taysir Alouni Sentenced to Seven Years Imprisonment
Al Jazeera reporter Taysir Alouni was today sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Although acquitted of being a member of al-Qaeda, Taysir was convicted for allegedly collaborating with al-Qaeda. The arrest, detention, and conviction of Taysir are clear signs of the witch-hunt taking place against Muslims today whereby even journalists are punished for simply doing their job.
First arrested in September 2003, Taysir was later released on bail on health grounds – he suffers from a weak heart and back problems – only to be arrested again and jailed in Madrid in November 2004. He was released to house arrest in March 2005, but taken back into custody on 16 September 2005.
For full details of the background to the case, please visit the following websites
IHRC urges all campaigners to write to their MP and Foreign Secretary requesting them to raise these issues in parliament and with the Spanish authorities. A sample letter is below for your convenience.
Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
Dear Mr. Straw:
RE: Conviction of al-Jazeera reporter, Taysir Alouni
I am writing out of deep concern about the continuing witch-hunt of Muslims as part of the ‘war on terror’, and in particular the recent imprisonment of Aljazeera journalist, Taysir Alouni in Spain.
Much of the “evidence” used to convict Mr Alouni stems from an interview he conducted with Usama bin Laden in October 2001 and his journalistic contacts in al-Qaeda. If journalists ought to stand trial for interviewing individuals suspected of terrorism or war crimes, then hundreds of American and European journalists should also line up in courts. Even the respected Western journalist, Robert Fisk, has interviewed Usama bin Laden. Yet, only Taysir Alouni has been singled out for this kind of brutal treatment.
I understand that Mr Alouni will be bringing an appeal against his conviction. Mr Alouni has severe back and heart problems due to which he was released on bail on more than one occasion during the course of his detention. It is only fair that he should be released on bail while his appeal is pending so as not to cause him further health problems.
I strongly urge you to raise these concerns with your Spanish counterparts and demand that Taysir Alouni be released immediately on bail. Such shocking treatment of a respected reporter who was simply doing his duty, is symbolic of the extent to which traditional civil liberties and democratic values such as the freedom of the press are rapidly evaporating in Western society.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience
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Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75
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