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Al Jazeera's Ahmed Mansour arrested in Berlin over Egypt charge

By Andrew V. Pestano
Al Jazeera's Ahmed Mansour arrested in Berlin over Egypt charge
Ahmed Mansour, an Al Jazeera journalist, was arrested Saturday in Berlin over an Egyptian arrest request, which was denied by Interpol. Photo courtesy of Ahmed Mansour/Twitter

BERLIN, June 21 (UPI) -- Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour was arrested at Berlin's Tegel Airport Saturday due to an Egyptian arrest request.

Last year, Mansour was sentenced in absentia to 15 years imprisonment charged with torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011. Interpol denied an Egyptian request for an international arrest warrant against Mansour in October.

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Mansour and Al Jazeera deny the Egyptian accusations.

"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," Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera, said. "Ahmed Mansour is one of the Arab world's most respected journalists and must be released immediately."

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Mansour is one of four Al Jazeera journalists who were accused by Egypt of different charges. Three other journalists were accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group now banned in Egypt.

Peter Greste was deported out of Egypt in February after 400 days of detention. Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy are facing a retrial.

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Mansour communicated to Al Jazeera about his current ordeal.

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"I am now in detention in Berlin airport in Germany as I was heading back to Doha. The airport authorities detained me based on an Interpol order at the request of the Egyptian authorities. 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," he said.

Mansour will be held in Germany at least until Monday when an investigating judge will determine his case.

"We hope that this misunderstanding will be resolved quickly. 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. The Interpol itself cleared my name with this document that I have in my hands," Mansour added.

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