Journalist Paul Martin released from Gaza

Former BBC journalist Paul Martin has been released by Hamas today after being detained for 'breaching security'.

By Jessica Elgot, March 11, 2010
Journalist Paul Martin was detained by Hamas in Gaza

Journalist Paul Martin was detained by Hamas in Gaza

A British journalist held in Gaza by Hamas for ‘violating security’ has been released, Hamas has said.

Freelance journalist Paul Martin, 55, who has reported for the BBC and The Times, is expected to be freed without penalty today and expelled from Gaza to Israel.

Mr Martin’s lawyer Sharhabil Zayim said he would be handed over to the British and South African authorities in Israel. The Foreign Office has not confirmed Mr Martin is to be released.

Mr Martin originally travelled to Gaza to testify for a Palestinian man who was accused of collaborating with Israel.

During the trial, the judge apparently ordered that Mr Martin be arrested. He is the first foreign journalist to be officially detained by Hamas.

After his arrest, Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ehab Ghussein said: "We have confessions that the British journalist committed offences against Palestinian law, and that harms the security of the country."

Mr Martin has briefly been detained in Gaza previously, while reporting for The Times at an anti-Hamas demonstration.

On that occasion, he and a cameraman were reporting on a pro-Fatah demonstration by female students who were attacked by Hamas security forces. They were detained in a police cell before being released.

Last updated: 3:39pm, March 11 2010