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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Al-Jazeera reporter freed on bail
Al-Jazeera journalist, Tayseer Alouni
Alouni became well-known for his work in Afghanistan
A journalist from the al-Jazeera television network who stands accused of belonging to an al-Qaeda cell has been granted bail by a Spanish judge, court sources say.

Tayseer Alouni who is best known for interviewing Osama Bin Laden after the 11 September attacks on the United States, was arrested in early September in southern Spain.

He was charged with providing money and information to al-Qaeda operatives and recruiting fighters for the group.

Lawyers for Mr Alouni presented a report from doctors asking that he be released from jail and Judge Baltasar Garzon accepted, setting bail at 6,000 euros ($7,000), the National Court said.

His wife reportedly raised concerns about his health last month, saying he had suffered a heart attack while he was covering the war in Iraq.

Terror suspects

Court sources said the bail had been paid and Mr Alouni should be released from a prison on the outskirts of Madrid this afternoon.

Under the terms of his bail, he cannot leave the country without the court's permission and he must report each week to the court nearest his home.

Spanish police arrested the journalist on 5 September at his home near the southern city of Granada on orders from Mr Garzon.

The judge included Mr Alouni in the indictment he handed down against Osama Bin Laden and 34 other terror suspects.

BALTASAR GARZON
Baltasar Garzon

Mr Alouni, who has both Spanish and Syrian citizenship, is a well-known war correspondent in the Middle East for the Qatar-based Arabic satellite television network.

He was the Kabul correspondent for al-Jazeera during the Afghanistan war, and one of the only journalists allowed by the hardline Taleban regime to operate from the areas in its control.

He was criticised by some for helping the station secure videotapes from Osama Bin Laden in the months after the 11 September attacks.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's government has been one of the US's firmest allies in its international war on terror.



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