Hamas extends journalist's detention

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A Hamas military court in Gaza yesterday ordered that a British journalist be detained for another 15 days for interrogation in connection with alleged "security" offences.

Paul Martin, a freelance filmmaker and reporter who has worked for The Times and the BBC, was arrested last month when he arrived to testify for the defence at a trial of a Palestinian militant accused by the Hamas authorities of collaborating with Israel.

Martin, the first foreigner to have been detained by Hamas since it seized full control of Gaza in June 2007, arrived at court yesterday in a military minibus. Reporters were kept outside by armed police and prevented from speaking to him. The journalist's lawyer, Sharhabil al-Zaeem, said after the hearing he was "optimistic" that his client would not be charged once the investigation was completed.

The Palestinian accused by Hamas, Mohammed Abu Muaileq, is a former rocket launcher who was interviewed for a documentary Martin produced in 2008.

Hamas claimed after Martin's arrest that the defendant had made a confession suggesting Martin had "violated Palestinian law and security in Gaza".