“Ahmed Mansour is one of the Arab world’s most respected journalists and must be released immediately.”
|The crackdown on journalists by Egyptian authorities is well known. 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.|
Mansour, a senior Al Jazeera Arabic TV journalist, was arrested at Berlin’s Tegel airport at 13:20 GMT on Saturday as he tried to board a Qatar Airways flight from Berlin to Doha.
In a phone call, Mansour told Al Jazeera that he would remain in custody until Monday when he will face a German judge who will decide on his case.
Mansour 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.
Terrorise Al Jazeera journalists
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.”
Three Al Jazeera English journalists were wrongly accused of colluding with the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Peter Greste was released in February without charge after 300 days in detention, while two of his colleagues, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, face a retrial.
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. 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