Berlin : Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour was being held in Berlin police custody on Sunday awaiting a judge’s decision on his further detention on an international arrest warrant issued by his native Egypt, authorities said.
In a case that has raised issues about press freedom and German relations with Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Mansour was arrested yesterday at a Berlin airport having been accused by Cairo of committing “several crimes”.
“He is in police custody,” a spokesman for the Berlin public prosecutor’s office, Martin Steltner, told AFP today. “The Berlin prosecutor’s office is examining the legal assistance request” from Egypt, he added.
Mansour, who also has British citizenship, is to appear before a judge, who is to decide as early as today whether to hold him in detention and launch extradition procedures or release him, Berlin authorities said.
Al-Jazeera said on its website that an Egyptian court had sentenced Mansour in absentia in 2014 to 15 years in prison, for “torturing a lawyer in 2011 on Tahrir Square” in Cairo, epicentre of an anti-regime uprising that brought down former president Hosni Mubarak.
“Mansour has rejected these absurd accusations,” the network said. Mansour tweeted angrily in detention yesterday: “The question now is how have the German government and Interpol become tools in the hands of a bloodthirsty regime in Egypt that came to power through a coup, and is led by the terrorist (President) Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.”
The 52-year-old journalist also told Al-Jazeera he was facing rape and robbery charges. The journalist has rejected charges against him as “false”.