Senior Al Jazeera Reporter Ahmed Mansour Detained In German Custody
Presenter of Al Jazeera’s Arabic language channel, Ahmed Mansour, has been arrested in Berlin at the request of the Egyptian government.
According to The New York Times, this is the first time a Western government has taken prompt action responding to Egypt’s extradition request. An extradition hearing is scheduled on Monday, according to BBC.
Monsour, in absentia, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2014 by a Cairo criminal court. The 52-year-old Egyptian national though denies all charges against him. He was convicted of torturing a lawyer during 2011 Tahrir square uprising.
As he boarded a flight to Qatar, where his employer is based, Mansour was arrested at Tegel airport in Berlin. Al Jazeera has been critical of the current government, headed by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi in 2013, according to the the New York Times.
“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,” Mansour said in a video he recorded while in the Berlin prison.
Protestors have gathered outside the facility where Mansour has been held to demand his immediate release.
Al Jazeera has urged Germany to immediately release its senior TV journalist.
“The crackdown on journalists by Egyptian authorities is well known,” said Mostefa Souag, the acting director general of Al Jazeera. “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.”
The temporary detention investigative judge concluded the investigation on Sunday. Mansour was transferred to Moabit prison in Berlin.
“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,” Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan, reporting from Berlin, said.
“It is entirely possible he could be freed tomorrow.”