Al Jazeera urges Germany to free detained reporter

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 22 June 2015

Al Jazeera Arabic's Ahmed Mansour has been arrested in Germany based on an Interpol notice at the request of Egyptian authorities.

The journalist was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison by Cairo's criminal court in 2014 after being found guilty of torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011. Mansour denies the charges.

In October 2014, Interpol rejected Egypt's request for an international arrest warrant against him.

Mansour was arrested and transferred to Moabit prision in Berlin on Saturday 20 June. He will go before the attorney general on Monday morning. "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," said Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan from Berlin. He added Mansour might be freed the same day.

Following Mansour's detention in Berlin, Mostefa Souag, Al Jazeera's acting director general, said: "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.

"Ahmed Mansour is one of the Arab world's most respected journalists and must be released immediately."

Mansour is one of a number of staff from the Qatar-based broadcast network that has faced criminal proceedings in Egypt under President Sisi's government.

Three Al Jazeera English journalists were jailed after being found guilty of colluding with the banned Muslim Brotherhood organisation. Peter Greste was deported to Australia in February after 400 days in detention, while two of his colleagues, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, face a retrial.while two of his colleagues, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, face a retrial.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on Cairo to stop pursuing Al Jazeera journalists.

"Egypt has launched a politically motivated campaign against Al Jazeera and is now abusing the international system," said Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator, CPJ.

"Egyptian authorities should stop pursuing Ahmed Mansour and his Al Jazeera colleagues. Mansour should be released immediately."