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SUPPORT TAYSIR ALOUNI
Protest Arrest of Veteran Journalist in Spain
His arrest is Illegal, Unethical, Illogical
[The writer is
correspondent in England.]
I have never met Taysir Alouni but I have thought a lot about him over
these last few days.
In fact we both have quite a lot in common even though we are from quite
Apart from working for Aljazeera we both share a great passion and
dedication for the job that we do.
We have also experienced what it is like to come under fire from Britain and
being the only journalists in Kabul on the night of 7 October 2001 when
the bombing of
I was locked in a Taliban prison cell in the capital while Taysir was free
to cover the start of George
war on terror.
He had a near miss when a missile smashed into his Afghan office and I had
a lucky escape when I was set free.
Sadly, we now have something else in common. We have both been
incarcerated for doing nothing more than the job we love.
My ordeal at the hands of the Taliban lasted only 10 days and I pray that
Taysirs imprisonment in Spain will not be for much longer.
There is no greater punishment for a journalist than to be caged and
isolated from the outside world because a few people do not like the news
I cant begin to tell you how wretched and isolated he will be feeling
wondering if anyone outside the prison walls really cares about his
plight. He will be confused and angry wondering how this could happen to
him? And indeed, we should all ask that question and demand an answer.
He will be wondering when the nightmare is going to end.
No evidence has been produced against Taysir by the Spanish authorities
other than wild accusations just because he is one of the few journalists
to have interviewed Usama bin Ladin.
Loved or loathed, there is not one single journalist worth his or her
salt, who would turn down THAT interview. Just for the record, I have
been trying since 1998 to interview UBL, and I can tell you now Taysir
would not have achieved his goal without lots of hard work, effort,
contact-buildings and sleepless nights the hallmarks of a good journalist.
The trouble is with good journalists like Taysir, people in positions of
power and authority do not like them. They fear their integrity and do
not want the truth to be brought to their breakfast table or, more
importantly, anyone elses including yours.
These people want to control the
and censor the news to stop you from finding out what is really happening
in our world today.
Good journalists make many enemies and I am sure Taysir is no exception.
Id like to bet that it is because of these enemies that he is now in the
fix he is in.
The Spanish authorities are allowing themselves to be used in this
mindless, endless war on terror where human rights are being
carpet-bombed on an almost daily basis.
Investigative magistrate Baltasar Garzon has formally accused Taysir, a
Spaniard, of terrorist activity, and ordered him held without bail.
This blatant abuse of human rights could continue for up to four years.
The truth is Baltasar has been fed false information delivered by
intelligence agencies from
and the United States the very same two countries which produced a dodgy
dossier on me to try and convince the Taliban I was also up to no good.
Thankfully, the Taliban were clever enough to see through this clumsy
attempt to blacken my reputation. I just cant understand why the
Spanish authorities are taking so long over this latest dodgy dossier.
Taysir's arrest is illegal, unethical and outrageous.
If it can happen to him, it can just as easily happen to you.
Please e-mail Judge Garzon at his personal address:
and demand Taysir's immediate release
2003-09-21 Sun 15:59ct