Police pursue all angles in missing Jordanian reporter-A A +A
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
MANILA (Updated 3:06 p.m.) -- Malacañang said on Tuesday that police authorities are looking at all possible angles in the disappearance of Jordanian TV journalist Baker Abdulla Atyani, including the report linking him to the al-Qaeda terrorist group.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace has no information yet to confirm the report that Atyani could be a “fund conduit” for the al-Qaeda, an international terrorist network funded by Osama bin Laden.
“All angles are being looked at. The Philippine National Police is exploring all possibilities,” she said.
“That is not to foreclose on any particular avenue but yet they are keeping the horizon open, so to speak, for any possibilities that may contribute to what had happened to the incident. So they are looking at all angles now,” she added.
Atyani is known as the man who interviewed bin Laden three months before the 9/11 terror attack in the United States.
A report Monday quoted an anonymous official, saying “Atyani could be acting as conduit to deliver funds to the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) in the guise of kidnapping.”
Authorities said Atyani’s rejection of security escorts when conducting interviews in Sulu raised suspicions about the real identity of the Pakistan-based journalist.
Valte said Atyani and his Filipino crew Ramelito Vela and Rolando Letrero will be subjected to questioning and debriefing when they surface.
“The local authorities cannot just let him walk away and leave. Of course, they will have their own questions for him. He will be debriefed,” she said.
Malacañang earlier confirmed that Atyani's team was "in the hands" of the the ASG. But it did not categorize the incident as kidnapping, saying Atyani went to ASG lair "voluntarily." He reportedly wanted to interview ASG militants for his documentary.
Asked if there will be a ban on foreign journalists interviewing terror groups like the Abu Sayyaf, she said “that will have to be discussed because that will and may have implications on curtailing the freedom of expression or I would imagine that some media groups will have a problem with that.”
Valte refused to comment whether Atyani should be charged for violating the provision of Human Security Act deferring the matter to the Department of Justice.
“That will properly be under the jurisdiction of the DOJ (Department of Justice)… We will leave that up to the DOJ to determine.” (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)