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Lawyers of detained Al-Jazeera journalist Mansour meet German judge

Ahmed Mansour was detained at a German airport on Saturday, following an Egyptian request for his arrest

Ahram Online , Sunday 21 Jun 2015
Ahmed Mansour
Ahmed Mansour in a still image taken from an al-Jazeera broadcast. Photograph: al-Jazeera (Photo: AP)
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The lawyers of prominent Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Ahmed Mansour met a German judge on Sunday to discuss his release, after he was detained at a German airport on Saturday evening en route to Qatar, following an Egyptian request for his arrest, according to the journalist's official Facebook page.

Mansour's defence team met with the judge on Sunday, followed by an interrogation session with Mansour himself, in order for the judge to make a final decision on his fate, according to the post.

"During the course of the day there will be several meetings and of course, at any time, there might also be a decision to set him free," Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the Berlin prosecutor's office, told the Associated Press.

In 2013, a Cairo criminal court sentenced Mansour and others to a 15 years jail in absentia for "holding a citizen captive for several days and torturing him", said a statement from the Egyptian interior ministry issued on Saturday evening.  

Egyptian authorities have often accused Mansour's employer, Qatari owned pan-Arab TV news network Al-Jazeera, of being a mouthpiece of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Mansour is also known for his affiliation to the Brotherhood.  

The Arab and international criminal police department for public security in Egypt has been coordinating with the lawyer of the international cooperation bureau to bring Mansour back to Egypt, the interior ministry's statement read.

The department has been circulating the names of those convicted by Egyptian courts abroad, according to the statement.

"Mansour has been detained in Germany due to an international arrest warrant issued against him by Egyptian authorities," it said.

"The airport authorities detained me based on an Interpol order at the request of the Egyptian authorities, despite the fact that I informed them that the global police organisation has rejected Egypt's request, and that I have this document from Interpol to prove that I am not wanted on any charge," Mansour told Al Jazeera English in a video.

Mansour said that he will remain in custody until he stands in front of a German judge, and expected his release by Monday.  

Al Jazeera have denounced the journalist's arrest.

"The crackdown on journalists by Egyptian authorities is well known," Mostefa Souag, acting head of the Al Jazeera Media Network said on Saturday, following the arrest. "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."

Meik Gauer, a spokesman for the federal police in Berlin, told the Guardian that Mansour’s arrest came following an “international arrest warrant”.

“All countries that put out an international arrest warrant that is also valid in Germany go via the Bundeskriminalamt [federal criminal police office],” he said.

“The BKA then puts the arrest warrant into its system, so that the federal police at the border control also has access to it. Our contact is not Interpol, but the BKA – that is the central base where all documents for Germany are filed. I don’t know if Interpol had anything to do with it.”

At a protest in Berlin calling for Mansour's release on Sunday, protesters wore duct tape over their mouth in protest at the silencing of journalists.  

In February, Al-Jazeera English journalist Peter Greste was released after 400 days in prison, while his colleagues Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed were released after spending more than a year in custody and are both facing retrial.

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