The International Federation of Journalists has spoken out against a
seven-year jail term imposed on Al-Jazeera correspondent Tayseer Alouni
for “collaboration” with al-Qaeda by the Spanish high court on Monday.
– the first person to interview Osama bin Laden after 9/11 – was
arrested in November 2004 on charges alleging he had links to al-Qaeda.
The court found him guilty of collaborating with a terrorist group, but
cleared him of being an al-Qaeda member.
The charges came after
Alouni took money to Syrian exiles in Afghanistan who the prosecutor
claimed were operatives of the terrorist organisation. Alouni denied
they were linked to al-Qaeda.
The IFJ warned that the jail term
imposed on Alouni could lead to increasing self-censorship in media
reporting on security issues and organisations being branded as
Yvonne Ridley, former senior editor of
aljazeera.net, said Alouni’s sentence was “a bad day for journalists”.
She added: “Every single journalist with a decent contacts book will
look at what has happened to Tayseer and think that they could end up
Alouni was released on bail pending appeal