Aljazeera reporter placed in detention

An Aljazeera journalist who is charged in Spain over alleged links to the al-Qaida network has been formally remanded in custody, judicial sources said.

    Alluni is suffering from heart problems and depression

    The decision to detain Taysir Alluni, a Spaniard of Syrian origin, was taken after a request by the Spanish prosecutor's office which said there was a strong risk that he would try to flee the country before his trial. 

    Eight other individuals facing similar charges were also taken into custody, the sources, quoted by news agency Europa press, said on Saturday. 

    During their appearance before a magistrate on Friday, all said they had no intention of trying to leave Spain and said they were innocent of the charges. 

    Health problems

    Alluni's lawyer said that his client was suffering from heart problems and depression. The journalist was first arrested on 5 September 2003 in the southern Spanish city of Grenada, where he lives with his family. 

    Suffering from a heart defect, he was released on bail the following month but told he was not allowed to leave the country. 

    Spanish judge Baltazar Garzon
    issued the charges against Alluni

    Alluni is one of 41 people - including al-Qaida leader Usama bin Ladin - charged by leading Spanish judge Baltazar Garzon with links to, or membership of, the Islamic network and accused of using visits to Kabul to forge links with al-Qaida. 

    Charges against Alluni and 20 other individuals were officially brought on Wednesday. Europa Press said their trial could begin in early 2005.

    Mental torture

    Alluni's wife, Fatima al-Zahra, said that this time her husband was charged with  contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood and not al-Qaida. 

     

    She said the public persecutor had earlier recommended that all the charges against Alluni be dropped owing to lack of evidence. 

     

    Also, Al-Zahra held the Spanish government responsible for any harm that might come to Alluni - who is in poor health - during his detention.

    She also accused the Spanish authorities of subjecting Arab detainees to "extreme mental torture" in prison. 

    Alluni found fame with exclusive reporting from Afghanistan during the US-led war on the Taliban launched in October 2001, interviewing bin Ladin and later reporting from Baghdad on the war in Iraq.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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