Middle East Monitor / April 15, 2021
The Spanish security services have allowed an Israeli agent from the Mossad spy agency to interrogate a Palestinian journalist seeking asylum, Wafa news agency has reported. The incident at the Civil Guard building in the capital has been condemned by the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.
The syndicate called on the Spanish government to assume its responsibilities by ensuring the security of Muath Hamid and his family. It also called for the Spanish authorities to open an investigation into what happened during the interrogation.
Spain’s Civil Guard is the country’s oldest law enforcement agency in the country and “military in nature”. The journalists’ union said that it is suspected of being “complicit” with Mossad in allowing the Israeli agent to interrogate Hamid in its building. “This was a gross violation of international law, a violation of Spanish sovereignty and a threat to the journalist’s security and safety,” the syndicate insisted.
It added that the case is being followed closely in conjunction with the Union of Spanish Journalists, the Palestinian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry, and the Spanish political and security authorities to ensure that Hamid is not subject to any harm or torture. The reporter for Al Araby TV and freelance contributor to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed is currently a refugee in Spain, where he lives with his wife and two children.
According to popular Spanish online newspaper Público last Friday, on 9 December Hamid received a telephone call from “Nicolás”, an officer on duty at the Civil Guard’s Spanish Information Services “Nicolás wanted to discuss Hamid’s work as a journalist, his past and his current life in Spain. This is a regular procedure for refugees and migrants.”
When the journalist went to meet “Nicolás” in Bilbao, he met another officer, Javier. “Hamid answered all the questions, explaining why he applied for asylum in Spain and describing his journey from Palestine to Europe through Turkey,” reported Público. “In early February, the young Palestinian journalist was summoned again by Nicolás… this time in the Spanish capital, Madrid.”
This time there was also another man in the room, allegedly named Omar, “who was introduced to him as a Palestinian. Hamid, however, immediately noticed his strong Israeli accent… and he decided to answer his questions in Hebrew.” Omar acknowledged that he was an Israeli, at which point Javier “left the room, leaving Muath in the hands of the supposed Mossad agent… who threatened the Palestinian journalist and his family, saying that they will never be allowed to go back to Palestine due to one of his journalistic investigations” related to the work of the Israeli spy agency.
Público sought comments and clarifications from the Israeli Embassy and the Civil Guard, as well as Spain’s Interior Ministry. It has received no replies.