Germany sets detained Al Jazeera journalist free

Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour has been freed from detention in Germany after being arrested on Egyptian warrant

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour has been freed from detention in Germany with no charges after being arrested on an Egyptian warrant earlier this week.

A German court was set to consider a request from Egypt to extradite Mansour, who has dual Egyptian and British citizenship.

However, a German foreign ministry spokesman, Martin Schaefer, said on Monday no one will be extradited from Germany if they face the death penalty elsewhere, in response to a question on the fate of Mansour, who was detained in Berlin airport on Saturday upon Egyptian government’s request as he was trying to board a flight to Qatar.

"I don't think one can say this loudly enough: Of course, nobody will be extradited from Germany who risks being sentenced to death abroad," Schaefer said in a press conference on Monday.

"I am still under arrest at Berlin airport, waiting to be taken before an investigating judge," Mansour said on his Twitter account.

Al Jazeera’s acting director general Mostefa Souag previously condemned Mansour’s arrest.

"The crackdown on journalists by Egyptian authorities is well-known," Souag said.

"Our network, as the Arab world's most-watched, has taken the brunt of this. Other countries must not allow themselves to be tools of this media oppression, least of all those that respect freedom of the media as does Germany,” he added.

"Ahmed Mansour is one of the Arab world's most respected journalists and must be released immediately."

In 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced Mansour in absentia for torturing a lawyer in 2011 in Tahrir Square, Cairo, which was the scene of a mass uprising that toppled former autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.

Interpol had rejected Egypt’s request for an international arrest warrant, Al Jazeera reported.

Mansour meanwhile rejected the charges and described them as “fabricated.” His lawyer, Saad Djebbar, told Al Jazeera that the arrest was politically motivated.

Mansour hosts a popular news programme on Al Jazeera Arabic and recently interviewed the chief of the Al Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front, Abu Mohamed Al Golani.

The arrest comes after three Al Jazeera journalists were jailed in Egypt in June 2014 on terrorism charges. All three were released this year after months of campaigning by human rights advocates.

Egypt and Qatar have had strained relations since 2013, when the Egyptian army deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt has long accused Qatar of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt sees as an extremist group. Hundreds of its members have been jailed so far, which drew sharp criticism from human rights groups.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi visited Germany on June 3 and had talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

More than 27,000 people have signed an online petition calling on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to release Mansour.

TRTWorld and agencies