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Top Romanian terror suspect defends himself in unprecedented media appearance

de     HotNews.ro
Vineri, 1 iunie 2007, 0:00

Picture: Antena 3

Omar Hayssam, a businessman of Syrian descent who has fled Romania while facing terrorism charges made a rare media appearance on Thursday evening, claiming that he has managed to collect documents proving his innocence.

Hayssam said the documents showed that accusations against him in a case involving the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq two years ago were unfounded but that he would deliver them to Romanian authorities only when he would be allowed to speak freely.

He made the statements in a live phone interview for Romanian TV news station Antena 3 on Thursday evening.

He claimed he couldn’t contact Romanian authorities as long as an international arrest warrant issued on his name was still valid.

And Hayssam denied claims that he was involved in dealings with various groups in Iraq and that he was involved in espionage activities as a businessman in Romania.

Hayssam was arrested in spring last year under charges related to the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq the year before. The journalists - who had traveled to report from Iraq on Hayssam’s expense - were freed in May 2005.

A fourth man, Mohammad Munaf, who accompanied them was also kidnapped, then released, but then arrested and sentenced to death in Iraq. Munaf is currently spending time in an Iraqi prison.

But suspicions of terrorisms floated around Hayssam for a long time before he was arrested on such charges. He was released on medical grounds a year ago but he fled Romania despite that he was expected to be tried for terrorism.




















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