Al Jazeera journalist spends second night in custody

Egypt asks Germany to extradite Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Ahmed Mansour who was detained at Berlin airport.

    Al Jazeera journalist, Ahmed Mansour, will remain in German custody for a second night after he was detained at Berlin airport at the request of Egyptian government.

    Egypt's attorney general on Sunday asked Germany and Interpol to extradite Mansour, but prosecutors have said that they have not yet decided whether to extradite him to Egypt or set him free, Associated Press reported.

    The temporary detention investigative judge concluded his investigation with Mansour on Sunday, after which he was transferred to Moabit prison in Berlin.

    Dozens of his supporters protested in front of the Berlin court building where the journalist from Al Jazeera's Arabic channel was being held.

    Mansour’s lawyer, Fazli Altin, called for the journalist's immediate release, saying that Germany was getting involved in a politically tainted case," AP reported.

    Mansour told Al Jazeera by telephone earlier that he would remain in custody until Monday.

    Petition signed

    Egypt has launched a politically motivated campaign against Al Jazeera and is now abusing the international system

    Sherif Mansour, CPJ\'s Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator

    Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan, reporting from Berlin, said Mansour will go before the attorney general on Monday morning.

    "The attorney general will look in more detail at the actual allegation and we hope make a formal decision on whether or not Mansour's detention can be justified," he said.

    "It is entirely possible he could be freed tomorrow."

    More than 20,000 people have signed a petition calling on the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to release Mansour, one of Arab world’s most respected journalists.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on Cairo to stop pursuing Al Jazeera journalists.

    "Egypt has launched a politically motivated campaign against Al Jazeera and is now abusing the international system," said Sherif Mansour, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator.

    "Egyptian authorities should stop pursuing Ahmed Mansour and his Al Jazeera colleagues. Mansour should be released immediately."

    Mansour, 52, was detained at Berlin's Tegel airport on Saturday on an Egyptian arrest warrant, his lawyers said. Mansour, who holds dual Egyptian-British nationality, was trying to board a Qatar Airways flight to Doha, the station reported.

    Crackdown on journalists

    The Al Jazeera journalist was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison by Cairo's criminal court in 2014 on the charge of torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011.

    He denied the charges. And in October last year, Interpol rejected Egypt's request for an international arrest warrant against him.

    Al Jazeera dismissed the accusation as a flimsy attempt at character assassination against of one of its leading journalists.

    "The crackdown on journalists by Egyptian authorities is well known," said Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera network.

    "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.

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

    Politically motivated

     Mansour’s lawyer explains detention in Germany

    The arrest of Mansour comes two weeks after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi visited Germany.

    Sisi has largely suppressed dissent in Egypt.

    Thousands of activists and political opponents have been arrested, prosecuted and in some cases sentenced to death since former President Mohamed Morsi was deposed two years ago.

    Mansour's lawyer, Saad Djebbar, told Al Jazeera that his client's arrest was politically motivated.

    "This is a ploy to terrorise Al Jazeera journalists and paralyse Al Jazeera from doing its work," he said.

    Three Al Jazeera English journalists were wrongly accused of colluding with the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

    Peter Greste was deported in February after 400 days in detention, while two of his colleagues, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, face a retrial.

    From Al Jazeera's Ahmed Mansour

    I am now in detention in Berlin airport in Germany as I was heading back to Doha.

    The airport authorities detained me based on an Interpol order at the request of the Egyptian authorities.

    I informed [ the police] that the global police organisation has rejected Egypt's request and that I have this document from the Interpol to prove that I am not wanted in any charge. 

    Ahmed Mansour [Al Jazeera] 

    I also told them that all the cases that were filed against me in Egypt were fabricated.

    They, however, insisted on holding me in their detention centre for investigation.

    They told me that they will transfer me to face an investigating judge, who will determine my case. 

    I refused to sign the detention request until I speak to my lawyer who just got here.

    We hope that this misunderstanding will be resolved quickly.

    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.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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