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Al-Jazeera Protests Terror Conviction Of Journalist

27 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The Al-Jazeera satellite television broadcaster says it will appeal a Spanish court's sentencing of one of its journalists to seven years in prison for collaborating with the Al-Qaeda terrorist group.

The journalist, Taysir Alouni, was among 18 men convicted on 27 September in Madrid for belonging to or cooperating with Al-Qaeda.

Alouni had interviewed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden shortly after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States.

Al-Jazeera news editor Ahmed al-Sheikh called the sentence a "black day" for the Spanish judiciary and said lawyers would appeal.

Al-Jazeera General Manager Waddah Khanfar said the news station remains convinced of Alouni's innocence.

The other sentences handed down by Spain's National Court Monday included 27 years for a Syrian-born suspected Al-Qaeda leader who was convicted of conspiring to commit murder with the 11 September plotters.