The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has released British journalist Paul Martin, accused of espionage and held behind bars for three weeks, a Palestinian police spokesman said on Thursday.
Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said the freelance journalist had been found to be an Israeli spy and his release was an olive branch.
"After concluding the investigation, it was found that Paul Martin has been found guilty of being an agent for Israel," Zahar told journalists at a press conference to announce Martin's release.
No charges were brought against the journalist, but he has been barred from entering all Palestinian territory on the orders of Hamas.
Martin "was working on defaming the image of the Palestinian people by saying that they smuggle weapons through tunnels," Zahar said.
The journalist was taken to custody on March 14 when he testified on behalf of a former Gaza militant he had interviewed, who was on trial for being an informer for Israel.
GAZA, March 11 (RIA Novosti)