Al Jazeera's Mansour released by German authorities

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 23 June 2015

A German court has released Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour after he was arrested in Berlin at the weekend, following an Interpol order issued at the behest of the Egyptian authorities.

"I extend my thanks and appreciation to the honest and honourable judges of Germany," Mansour told supporters outside the Court on Monday (22 June).

"Thanks to people around the world who supported me in the last days . I'm free, I'm free, I'm free."

Mansour was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison by Cairo's criminal court after being found guilty of torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011 during protests against former President Mubarak. Mansour denies the charges.

German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told a press conference that Germany has repeatedly questioned the rule of law in Egypt.

"Against this background, you will surely understand that there are doubts in the Mansour case," he said.

"I don't think one can say this loudly enough: Of course, nobody will be extradited from Germany who risks being sentenced to death abroad."

Al Jazeera's acting director general Mostefa Souag welcomed the news saying: "This was an unfortunate incident in Germany, but we are pleased that the mistake has been rectified.

"We hope that this will be a lesson to the Egyptian authorities that the rest of the world values freedom of the press. Rather than trying to expand their war on journalists, they should free the journalists they have on trial and in jail in Cairo, including Baher and Fahmy, and end the action against those tried in absentia."

Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy are facing a retrial in Cairo, charged with aiding a terrorist organisation a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is now outlawed in Egypt. Together with their colleague Peter Greste they spent more than a year in custody.

Greste was deported in February and Baher and Fahmy were bailed, after the Cairo Court of Cassation overturned their convictions of on 1 January 2015 on procedural grounds. Their next court hearing is scheduled for 25 June.