March 11th, 2010
07:56 AM ET

British journalist freed in Gaza

British journalist Paul Martin was free Thursday and on his way to Israel after his arrest by Hamas in Gaza a month ago.

CNN witnessed Martin in a car with British consular officials, heading to the Erez crossing into Israel. Martin's lawyer confirmed his client's release.

Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said the decision to release Martin was made as a "good will gesture" and was in response to the many calls they had received to let him go. Yousef said many lawmakers, press organizations, and even South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu had been communicating with Hamas about his release.

Martin is a documentary maker who has worked for the BBC, ITN, and other broadcasters, and reported for the British newspaper The Times. He was arrested February 14 by Hamas on suspicions he was involved with Israeli espionage
activity.

Hamas initially detained Martin for two weeks, but extended his detention for 15 more days.

Officials from Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, suggested at the time of Martin's arrest that he had been communicating with a Palestinian affiliated with the rival Fatah movement and whom Hamas had accused of collaboration with Israel.

Yousef said in the end, Hamas did not have enough evidence to push the case further.

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