Friday, February 22, 2008

Romania Sentences Syria-born Trader

21 February 2008
Bucharest _ Romania's Supreme Court has confirmed the twenty year jail sentence against a Syrian-born businessman for his role in the disappearance of three Romanian journalists in Iraq.

Omar Hayssam, fled Romania in mysterious circumstances in 2006 and was sentenced by a lower court to twenty years in absentia, and to pay compensation worth 2 million euros to each journalist.

Hayssam was arrested in April 5, 2007.

His lawyer says the health of client is now very poor and he will start a complaint at the European Court for Human Rights.

In 2005, an unknown group seized Marie-Jeanne Ion, a senior reporter for Prima TV, Sorin Miscoci, a cameraman, and Ovidiu Ohanesian, a reporter for the daily newspaper Romania Libera. Their kidnappers at the time demanded that Romania withdraws its troops from Iraq.

After 55 days in captivity, the reporters were freed, following negotiations between Romanian authorities and the kidnappers.

Their release prompted Romanian prosecutors to investigate Hayssam's role in the kidnapping.

They argued that Hayssam plotted the hostage-taking because he was being investigated in several cases of economic fraud and was looking for a way to leave the country with a large sum of

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