Samer Allawi, recruited by Hamas in 1993, convicted for promoting terror group's goals through position as al-Jazeera reporter. His lawyer says his client admitted having contact with the Islamic militant group Hamas and will be released under a plea bargain.
Cleared for Publication: Samer Allawi, Al-Jazeera's bureau chief in Afghanistan was convicted on Monday of conspiracy to commit a crime against the State of Israel over his connection with Hamas. The conviction was part of a plea bargain agreed upon between the IDF and Allawi.
Allawi was sentenced to time served and will pay a $1,400 fine.
He was arrested on his way back home to Kabul on August 9 at the Allenby Crossing over his suspected involvement in Hamas activity.
During his interrogation by the Shin Bet, Allawi admitted that he was recruited by Hamas in Pakistan in 1993. There he served until 2004 as a member of the "Palestine supreme committee", a group that supervises Hamas institutions and directs their activities, including collecting donations for the group.
Within the framework of his position on the committee Allawi stayed in Syria between 2001 and 2003 in order to report its activities to Mousa Abu Marzook, second in command to Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal.
The Shin Bet said that in a 2004 interview Allawi held with Marzook, the latter offered Allawi a position. During his time in Syria Allawi was also offered the job of Hamas representative in Iran, but he refused.
Strengthen Hamas position
His interrogation also revealed that in 2000, during his meeting with a Hamas operative in Dubai, Allawi agreed to carry out any military or organizational operation required of him by Hamas.
He even offered, on his own initiative, to act in order to assist Hamas in promoting its goals while using al-Jazeera and its facilities, including his position as a reporter with the network.
In 2006 Allawi met with Hamas operatives, who were also reporters with the network, in Qatar where they agreed to use their position with the network to strengthen Hamas' position. They were to do so by expressing criticism of US activities in Afghanistan and expressing support of the Palestinian "resistance".
Last year, during an additional meeting with Hamas operatives in Qatar, Allawi was asked to take part in a journalists' convention and act to strengthen public opinion supporting Hamas and the Palestinian struggle, once again by criticizing the US.
The defense establishment said Monday that Allawi's interrogation proves that the al-Jazeera network is being exploited by Hamas operatives seeking to use their place and position as reporters in order to promote Hamas aims.
Meanwhile, Allawi said that: "I was subjected to a great deal of pressure during my arrest and the interrogations." He claims that he denied the charges ascribed to him and eventually agreed to the plea bargain with the prosecution over "meetings with a terror organization" in return for his release. Allawi added that as part of his journalistic work he met with senior members of various factions including the Hamas, just as he met with senior Taliban members during his tenure in Afghanistan.
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