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Old 21-06-15, 17:40   #1
 
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Arrow Right Al Jazeera Journalist Arrested for Torture

German Police have Arrested Leading Al-Jazeera Journalist after Egyptian Authorities Sentenced Him to 15 Years in Jail and Issued a Warrant

  • Senior journalist Ahmed Mansour detained in Germany at Egypt's request
  • He has been sentenced in absentia in Egypt to 15 years in prison for allegedly torturing unnamed lawyer
  • The Al-Jazeera journalist and Qatar-based network both reject the charge
  • Network's director general has called for Mr Mansour's immediate release
Daily Mail UK, 21 June 2015


Al-Jazeera has called for the immediate release of one of its senior journalists after he was detained by German police on an Egyptian arrest warrant.

Ahmed Mansour, a dual British-Egyptian national and senior journalist for the network's Arabic language channel, was arrested while trying to board a Qatar Airways flight at Berlin's Tegel airport heading to Doha, according to a lawyer for the Qatar-based satellite news network.

In a statement the network's acting director general, Mostefa Souag, said: '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.'

It comes a year after three journalists working for Al-Jazeera English, including an Australian, were convicted in a widely-criticised trial in Egypt of spreading false news and collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.





Arrested: Ahmed Mansour, a dual British-Egyptian national and senior journalist for Al-Jazeera's Arabic language channel, has been detained in Germany following an Egyptian arrest warrant


Mr Mansour has been sentenced in absentia in Egypt to 15 years in prison over allegedly torturing an unnamed lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011.
He has rejected charges against him as 'false' and urged Berlin against colluding with Cairo, in a video aired by the Al-Jazeera.

'This case is false,' Mr Mansour said in a message he recorded in police detention in the German capital.

'The coup regime in Egypt is too weak to drag a state like Germany and the EU into its dirty game against Egyptians,' he added, referring to the Egyptian military's ousting of Islamist President Morsi.

A German police spokesman confirmed authorities detained a 52-year-old Egyptian-British journalist at 3.20pm local time (1.20pm GMT) on Saturday.

Mr Mansour spent the night in German custody while prosecutors hold meetings to decide whether he will be extradited or set free. Dozens of protesters, meanwhile, called for his release on Sunday.
About 80 protesters gathered outside the courthouse where Mansour is being held, calling on authorities to set him free.

'We don't understand why Mansour was detained in Berlin,' said Ali Alawady, a member of the German-Egyptian Union for Democracy who helped organise the protest.
'He is an innocent journalist who is unrightfully persecuted in Egypt.'

A spokesman for the Berlin prosecutor's office Martin Steltner said: 'During the course of the day there will be several meetings and of course there can be at any time also a decision to set him free again.'
He added, however, that it would be unlikely there would be a decision on a possible extradition of Mansour as early as Sunday.





In 2013, Egyptian security forces arrested three Al-Jazeera journalists. They were later convicted of being part of a terrorist group in a widely criticised trial. From left, Baher Mohamed, Mohammed Fahmy and Peter Greste



A post on Mansour's Facebook page called for a 'Freedom for Mansour Ahmed' protest outside the Berlin courthouse where he is being held. A video of Mansour was also posted to the Facebook page, after he was questioned, where he lashes out at German authorities for detaining him.

'Regrettably, they told me that the request to arrest me is a German request and it is not based on Interpol,' he said, accusing Germany of complicity with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government in Egypt and speculating that there may be a special arrangement concerning him alone.

It wasn't immediately clear who was posting to Mansour's Facebook account, or who made the video.

Egypt and Qatar have had tense relations since 2013, when the Egyptian military ousted President Morsi amid massive protests.

Doha is a strong backer of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. Cairo accuses Al-Jazeera of being a mouthpiece for Morsi's supporters, charges denied by the broadcaster.

After his detention in Germany, Mr Mansour, 52, told Al-Jazeera: 'It is quite ludicrous that a country like Germany would enforce and support such a request made by a dictatorial regime like the one we have in Egypt. The Interpol itself cleared my name with this document that I have in my hands.'

In October, Al-Jazeera said Interpol had rejected an Egyptian request to put out a 'red notice' for Mansour's arrest.



Mr Mansour recently conducted an interview with the head of the Nusra Front, the al-Qaeda branch fighting in Syria's civil war.

In December 2013, Egyptian security forces raided a hotel room used by Al-Jazeera English, arresting three journalists. They were later convicted of being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage intended to damage national security in a widely criticised trial.

Acting bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, who has Canadian citizenship, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed are free on bail amid a retrial.

Australian journalist Peter Greste was deported in February.


UPDATE

CAIRO, June 21 (Reuters) - A high-profile Al Jazeera journalist arrested in Berlin at the request of Egypt said he expected to soon face a judge who would decide whether to extradite him, in a case that could embarrass Germany and renew questions about Cairo's crackdown on dissent.

Ahmed Mansour, a leading talk show host on the Qatari channel's Arabic service, was arrested at a Berlin airport on Saturday, the latest Al Jazeera journalist to be pursued by the Egyptian authorities.
Egypt accuses Al Jazeera of being a mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Qatar-backed Islamist movement that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi removed from power in 2013 when he was army chief and calls a terrorist group.

Both the television channel and the Brotherhood reject the allegations made by Egyptian authorities.
Mansour told Al Jazeera by telephone:

"The German authorities told me that we are dealing with an international criminal case" and a judge would decide whether he should be extradited to Egypt.

A Cairo court sentenced Mansour, who has dual Egyptian and British citizenship, to 15 years in prison in absentia last year on a charge of torturing a lawyer in 2011 in Tahrir Square, the focus of the uprising that toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Jazeera said at the time the charge was false and an attempt to silence Mansour, known to viewers across the Arab world.
Saad Djebbar, a lawyer for Al Jazeera, said Mansour was arrested on Saturday as he tried to board a Qatar Airways flight to Doha.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said Cairo was liaising with the German authorities.

"He is accused of a crime and was sentenced so of course we have called for him to be returned," he told Reuters.

GERMAN DILEMMA


Critics accuse the West of turning a blind eye towards what they say is Egypt's crackdown on dissent and freedom of speech in favour of improved economic ties and security cooperation.

Mansour's arrest may bring to a head Germany's divisions over how to deal with Egypt, a country that is a valuable political ally and business partner, but also accused of widespread human rights abuses.

Sisi visited Germany this month at Chancellor Angela Merkel's invitation, but he was snubbed by the speaker of Germany's parliament who cancelled a meeting with him, citing rights violations in Egypt.

Also during the visit, German company Siemens signed an 8-billion-euro deal ($9 billion) with Egypt to supply gas and wind power plants.



"The arrest of (Mansour) throws up many questions which need to be cleared up as soon as possible since Germany must not be a henchman of Egypt's politically controlled justice system," Niels Annen, foreign policy spokesman for the opposition Social Democrats in German parliament, told Spiegel Online.

Egypt released Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste in February this year after 400 days in prison on charges that included aiding a terrorist group.
Mohamed Fahmy, a naturalised Canadian who has given up his Egyptian citizenship, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were released on bail in February after spending more than a year in custody.

The journalists were originally sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison on charges including spreading lies to help a terrorist organisation, which they have denied.

Egypt's high court ordered a retrial in January.
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