Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour released from German detention

Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour released from German detention
Germany released on Monday Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour who was arrested on the weekend at the request of his native Egypt, the Doha-based channel said.
3 min read
22 June, 2015
Protesters in Berlin demand the release Ahmed Mansour. [Getty]

Ahmed Mansour, a leading journalist with al-Jazeera has been freed from custody in Germany without charge, the Qatar based channel said on Monday.  

Mansour was being held in German police custody since Saturday after an arrest warrant was issued by his native Egypt, which accused him of committing "several crimes".

Ahmed Mansour was detained at 1320 GMT while trying to board a Qatar Airways flight at Berlin's Tegel airport heading to Doha, the station reported. It said he previously had been sentenced in absentia in Egypt to 15 years in prison over allegedly torturing an unnamed lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011, a charge both he and the channel rejected. 

While not identifying Mansour by name, German police spokesman Meik Grauer said authorities detained a 52-year-old Egyptian-British journalist and that prosecutors would look into the arrest warrant Sunday. 

     Relations between Cairo’s coup regime and Western governments have been steadily improving.

Cairo's criminal court sentenced Mansour, who has dual Egyptian and British citizenship, to 15 years in prison in absentia last year on the charge of 'torturing' a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011. Al-Jazeera said at the time the charge was false and an attempt to silence Mansour, who is known to viewers across the Arab world.  

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

The network's Acting Director General Mostefa Souag called for Mansour's immediate release:

"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," Soaug said. 

Mansour recently conducted an interview with the head of the Nusra Front, the al-Qaida 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 and later convicting of them 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. 

Relations between Cairo’s coup regime and Western governments have been steadily improving, despite an increasingly bloody and violent campaign against opponents by the Cairo authorities.

Earlier this month, Chancellor Merkel welcomed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Germany for his first official visit to the country. 

The trip was marred by protests and ended in chaos when at a joint press conference, a woman wearing a headscarf shouted at Sisi and called him a "murderer"; Egyptian pro coup journalists responded by shouting "long live Egypt", as both Sisi and Merkel were led out of the room by security guards. 

Sisi, Egypt's former army chief, ousted President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 and launched a deadly crackdown against the deposed president's supporters and secular activists.  

Sisi's bloody campaign left hundreds of Morsi supporters dead and thousands jailed, while dozens have been sentenced to death in mass trials, including Morsi himself.