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August 18, 2016 2:56 pm

British Journalist Paul Martin Recounts Ordeal on Death Row in Hamas Captivity as Accused Spy for Israel (VIDEO)

avatar by Ruthie Blum

Journalist Paul Martin, reporting from Gaza in 2010. Photo: JTV/Screenshot.

Journalist Paul Martin, reporting from Gaza in 2010. Photo: JTV/Screenshot.

A British journalist who spent nearly a month in captivity in a Gaza prison for allegedly spying on behalf of Israel recounted his ordeal this week on JTV — the Global Jewish Channel.

Paul Martin, arrested in 2010 by Hamas while making a film about a repentant terrorist, described confronting the certainty of his death at the hands of executioners accusing him of espionage.

“A gunman came into the cell, put six bullets very slowly into the magazine of his gun, pointed it at me, and started to squeeze the trigger,” Martin said. “It got halfway across; and suddenly he stopped. It seemed like an age that he was in that position. And then he turned his gun upwards and laughed.”

This, said Martin, who was arrested when he appeared at a Gaza military court to testify on behalf of “Mohammed” — “a militant Palestinian who’d been firing rockets at Israel, but had changed his mind.”

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Martin said he didn’t believe that Mohammed was a spy, as he was accused by Hamas of being. “Because why would he make a film criticizing the regime on which he’d been spying and allowing a Westerner to do so?”

When Martin arrived at the trial, he was told he was Mohammed’s “master-spy.” At that moment, he said, he was arrested, handcuffed and taken to a cell.

“That was the introduction to what turned out to be 26 days of detention,” Martin recalled, “when I was accused of being a spy, told I was going to be executed, and… did believe I was going to die at some point during my imprisonment…I decided to make those last few days or hours that I had left at least in some way meaningful. So I tried to be decent, even to the prison guards.”

Martin continued:

Later I was thrown into a much worse cell — very dark, very dingy, lots of mosquitos in there — a so-called hole in the ground, a toilet. But, while I was in that cell, they threw a man — a prisoner — into it. I was supposed to, as I said, be in isolation, so I was surprised he arrived.

He had swollen hands and feet; he looked in awful condition. And, as he lay down on my thin mattress, which I allocated to him, he pulled out of a plastic bag three dates out of six that were in the bag. He gave me those three dates. That meant he gave me half of everything he owned in the world.

I thought to myself at that point: “You know, you’ll find goodness in every dark corner of this world. And when I was, I think, miraculously released after 26 days, I made it my mission to try and save Mohammed, who was the man I’d been filming — and to save him from almost certain execution. And to our amazement, through a campaign, we managed to get him out of that prison and he’s still alive today. I have met him secretly. And both of us have learned a great deal and I think become better people as a result of our trials and tribulations.

Martin was arrested on February 14, 2010 and held until March 11, when — according to the UK Foreign Office — he was “released without charge.” Before returning home, he spent a number of days recuperating in Jerusalem.

Watch the full JTV interview, on the program “Movers & Shakers,” with journalist Paul Martin below:

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