An Al Jazeera journalist arrested in Germany at Egypt’s request yesterday has been remanded in German custody, Reuters reports. The journalist, Ahmed Mansour, who presented a weekly show on Al Jazeera, and holds dual Egyptian-British citizenship, was arrested at Berlin’s Tegel Airport on Saturday. Mansour is being held in custody while the German authorities consider whether he will be extradited to Egypt, according to the New York Times.
Speaking earlier on Sunday, a spokesman for Berlin’s state prosecutor said that proceedings would begin on Monday, The Guardian reported.
“It was an Egyptian arrest warrant… The problem is, as state prosecutors we have jurisdiction because he was arrested in Berlin. We cannot begin to assess the content of the arrest warrant yet. We’re going to start that tomorrow.”
Al Jazeera has a bad relationship with the current Egyptian regime, who accuse the network of being propagandists of the banned Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which both groups deny. ABC reports that Mansour is wanted by Egypt for allegedly torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011, which both Al Jazeera and Mansour have denied. Mansour was convicted and sentenced in absentia for the offense last year.
Speaking to Reuters, a lawyer for Al Jazeera, Saad Djebbar, said that the network had been anticipating such an action by Egypt.
“We knew that the Egyptians were going to set such a trap to harass our journalists and that is what has happened.”
Mansour isn’t the first Al Jazeera journalist to fall foul of the Egyptian government and be arrested. In February of this year, three Al Jazeera journalists, Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed were released after being sentenced to seven years in prison last June. Mohamed and Fahmy had been held for 411 days in prison. The three were sentenced for allegedly working with the Muslim Brotherhood and spreading false news. The New York Times reports Mohamed and Fahmy are both still facing the charges.
Upon their release, human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson told Al Jazeera that the journalists’ release “should have happened 411 days ago.”
“The bail release is a small step in the right direction but this should have happened 411 days ago. There’s no evidence that they’ve been complicit with the Muslim Brotherhood; no evidence that they’ve been involved in terrorism.”
A petition to release Mansour has already gained more than 23,000 signatures. You can find the petition here.
Al Jazeera journalist Paul Brennan told the network that there is hope for the journalist yet.
“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 added, “it is entirely possible he could be freed tomorrow.”
It remains to be seen what will be the fate of Mansour, only the latest Al Jazeera journalist to be arrested, but the rest of the world’s media is watching with bated breath.
[Image by Gustavo Castillo via Wikimedia Commons]