Why Was Al Jazeera Correspondent Ahmed Mansour Detained In Berlin?

Posted: Jun 20 2015, 11:48pm CDT | by , in Latest Political News


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Why was Al Jazeera correspondent Ahmed Mansour detained in Berlin?
Credit: Getty Images
  • Mansour detained in Germany.
  • Al Jazeera journalists at risk.
  • Is the Egyptian court system corrupt?

German authorities at Tegel airport in Berlin detained Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour at Egyptian request. Mansour believes the action is in error but must wait until Monday, June 22, for confirmation.

Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour is currently being detained in Berlin, Germany, while awaiting a judge to dismiss Egyptian extradition orders.

In 2014, Mansour was sentenced in absentia for torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011, says Al Jazeera. At the sentencing announcement, the network claimed more than 150 false accusations and complaints against him by the Egyptian authorities helped to propel an actions against journalists "for the sake of getting the truth to viewers and readers." After Mansour denied the charges, Interpol rejected Egypt's request to issue an international arrest warrant.

In video statement to Al Jazeera, the journalist describes the detainment process. "I informed [the police] that the global police organisation has rejected Egypt's request and that I have this document from the Interpol to prove that I am not wanted in any charge. I also told them that all the cases that were filed against me in Egypt were fabricated."

"Interpol itself cleared my name with this document that I have in my hands." Even with evidence in hand, the authorities still kept the Mansour from boarding a flight to Doha.

"They, however, insisted on holding me in their detention centre for investigation. They told me that they will transfer me to face an investigating judge, who will determine my case."

The Wall Street Journal reports that police in Berlin confirmed they had detained a journalist with dual U.K. and Egyptian citizenship, but would not release the name due to privacy acts. Police spokesman Meik Gauer corroborated Mansour’s comments about prosecutors reviewing the case on Monday.

Reuters says Jazeera is also in a $150 million compensation battle after the Cairo’s military-backing managed to damage the Egyptian sector’s business. The Qatari-based network continues to stand with Ahmed Mansour.

"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," said Acting Director General of Al Jazeera network Mostefa Souag.

"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."

'Resolved quickly'

Egypt's court system has come under close scrutiny after arresting three more Al Jazeera English journalists in 2013.

Peter Greste served 300 days in detention without charge, while Baher Mohammed and Mohammed Fahmy face a retrial on June 25 for allegedly working the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Mohammed and Fahmy were released 400 days after being arrested. Al Jazeera's campaign for the three's release was internationally supported.

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

Mansour's arrest comes just two weeks after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi visited Germany and met with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Many human rights organizations have called for governments to request a stop to Sisi's oppressive regime.

Al Jazeera reports in addition to journalists being persecuted, political opponents and activists have faced arrest, sentencing, and even death in the two years since former President Mohamed Morsi was deposed.

Saad Djebbar represents the journalist and believes the actions are politically motivated to continue silencing dissent. "This is a ploy to terrorise Al Jazeera journalists and paralyse Al Jazeera from doing its work."

He also believes the Qatar-backed Muslim Brotherhood actions are being used against the journalists, according to Reuters. "We knew that the Egyptians were going to set such a trap to harass our journalists and that is what has happened.”

Still, Mansour hopes the situation will find a resolution quickly and decisively. “It is quite ludicrous that a country like Germany would enforce and support such a request made by a dictatorial regime like the one we have in Egypt.”

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