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Hayssam, in the Police Car for Half a Day

06 Apr 2005 - 00:00

Omar Hayssam is involved in the Iraqi kidnapping of the Romanian journalists. The prosecutors have discovered that the Syrian is very related to the people suspected to have planned the sequestration of our colleagues.


  • Chaos yesterday at the Bucharest Court of Law. The special forces have held Syrian Omar Hayssam for hours in a police van, parked at the corner of the building, waiting for a signal. There was no one to give a logical explanations for the happenings. What’s strangest is that Omar Hayssam’s file didn’t leave the Prossecutor’s Office for the Court either. "They are probably waiting for a confirmation. Something important is going on for sure. No one says anything", Viorel Spanu, the businessman’s lawyer, said. He also said that Hayssam had been taken by the policemen since Tuesday at 18:00 hours and taken in an unknown direction. The warrant on his name has been emitted at 23:30 hours. Yesterday, at 17:00 hours, the Prossecutor’s Office of the High Court of Appeal and Justice has officially communicated that: "Following the specific operations for monitoring the illegal actions of the group coordinated by Omar Hayssam there have appeared some clues that emphasized connections to people suspected of being involved in the kidnapping of the three Romanian citizens in Iraq. The investigations are being in collaboration to the Operative Group, but, due to the operational complexity and problems , no extra data are available for now."


    The investigators didn’t manage to ask questions to the Syrian during the night between Tuesday and Wedenesday. "The Prossecutors have tried to ask him questions, but Omar Hayssam said he was sick and very dizzy, this being the reason for him not being able to answer to the investigators’ questions", Viorel Spanu stated. He also said that the prosecutors have called for an ambulance which took Omar Hayssam to the Clinics of the Ministry of Administration and Internal Affairs. "This is not about a medical examination to say whether Omar Hayysam can bare the detention regime, but only the analyses to confirm or deny the problems he mentioned during the hearing."


    Judicial sources have stated that, after being confined, Hayssam had been taken into an unknown direction. Lawyer Viorel Spanu said that Hayssam didn’t give any statement on the kidnapping of the Romanian journalists, nor about his business partner. After the consultation, Omar Hayssam has been transported to the headquarters of the Penal Researches Direction at about 03:00 hours.


    The investigators have asked the Bucharest Court of Law for a warrant related to the preventive arrest of Romanian-Syrian Omar Hayssam for fraud. It involves the activities of Omar Hayssam together with other Romanian and Arab citizens in 2001. Judicial sources have stated that is also accused for fraud in several deals with some Volvo trucks bought in leasing, these being a totally different file than the one that involves the Manhattan commercial company. Actually, 22 trucks have been bought without being paid, say the judicial sources. The authorities estimated the prejudice in the file with the Volvo trucks at around 1.8 million euros. However, in the two years in which the prosecutors investigated this case Hayssam walked free and continued with his businesses.


    On Tuesday night, at the Cotroceni Palace, the Presidency’s spokesperson, Adriana Saftoiu, announced in a 30 second long press conference the fact that Omar Hayssam has been arrested by the Prossecutor’s Office of the High Court of Appeal and Justice.

    "We mention that there are other related operations going on in Baghdad and Bucharest. Any other supplementary information about the journalists given now would endanger the recovery of the kidnapped Romanian journalists", Adriana Saftoiu said. She added that the Operative Group is still working on the freeing of the three journalists. The announce at the Cotroceni Palace is unusual somehow, since the prosecutors said they arrested Omar Hayssam for fraud. The High Court’s statement sounded: "Romanian citizen Omar Hayssam has been held today, April the 5th, 2005, by the prosecutors of the High Court of Appeal and Justice, him being investigated for having made some illegal activities. Due to the cause’s complexity and problems, we cannot give any more detailed information". A few hours later, Adriana Saftoiu has announced that Omar Hayssam was arrested for the case of the kidnapped journalists.


    The connection between the arresting of Syrian Omar Hayssam and the crisis of the hostage journalists in Iraq is also obvious due to the fact that this is the first time when the Presidency gets involved in such an investigation. The Arab "webs" working in Romania are attentively monitored by the secret services and groups with economical-financial criminality have been investigated, right after the attacks on the 11th of September in the USA. One of the most dangerous networks that the Romanian authorities annihilated is the one led by another Syrian, Omar Chama. There is a possibility that such groups collaborated in one way or another with Omar Hayssam’s companies or with the ones of his associates. The prejudices in these cases are much greater than the 1.8 millions announced by the authorities as being the reason for Hayssam’s arrest.


    Businessman Omar Hayssam has repeatedly tried to commit suicide, according to the things written in his medical file. The director of the neuropsychiatry hospital in which he has been interned, Radu Mihailescu, stated for Jurnalul National that the Syrian stood in the hospital between the 20th and the 29th of December 2004. After that he came back and stood there between the 3rd of January and the 28th of March 2005.


    In the same time with the arresting of Omar Hayssam by the Romanian prosecutors, a search has been made at the hideout of the organization he is supposed to have planned with the kidnapping of the journalists from Prima TV and Romania Libera. The Presidential Administration has announced that "there are other related operations going on in Baghdad and Bucharest and any other supplementary information about the journalists given now would endanger their recovery". However, Cotroceni gave important information: the Syrian’s arrest is related to the journalists’ kidnapping. The American and British investigators have settled for an intervention after getting to the conclusion that Omar Hayssam and Mohamad Munaf are the authors of the kidnapping. The latter has disappeared, if we take into consideration the pictures from Reuters, and he isn’t anymore with the Romanian journalists. Omar Hayssam’s brother, who lives in Baghdad, has also been arrested together with other members of the organization. The diplomatic sources which Jurnalul National quoted ever since the Tuesday night edition stated that the investigators were sure of the fact that the kidnapped people were no longer in danger or they wouldn’t take ay action to endanger them. At that time, the hostages had already been freed, say the quoted sources. However, the Cotroceni Palace has denied the rumor of the journalists’ freeing. In the meantime, in Bucharest, the authorities continue to bring in Arab born businessmen for economical illegalities that endanger the national security. According to some judicial sources, nine people have been brought in after the searches made on Tuesday, in several places, among which there are also some companies of Syrian businessman Omar Hayssam.

    Translation : SORIN BALAN
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