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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Spain jails al-Jazeera reporter
Tayssir Alouni
Alouni insists he was merely doing his job as a journalist
A court in Madrid has jailed former al-Jazeera journalist Tayssir Alouni for collaborating with a terrorist organisation.

The Qatar-based pan-Arab news network said it would appeal against the conviction, which it called "unfair".

Alouni - who protests his innocence - interviewed Osama Bin Laden before the 11 September attacks.

He was sentenced to seven years for acting as financial courier to Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

A Syrian-born Spanish citizen, Alouni was one of 24 defendants in Europe's biggest trial of Islamic extremists which has ended in Spain.

The suspected ringleader and 16 other defendants received long sentences for crimes related to the 11 September attacks and membership of a terrorist organisation - although not for committing the attacks themselves.

"The verdict is very disappointing and we consider it unfair and we will contact immediately the legal defence team to study the possibilities of appealing it," al-Jazeera director general Waddah Khanfar said in an interview with AFP.

Alouni denied carrying money intended for al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan, saying in his testimony that he was only doing his job as a journalist.

Until his arrest in 2003, he was among al-Jazeera's most prominent and popular correspondents, fronting the network's coverage of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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