Ger­many ‘far’ from de­ci­sion to ex­tra­dite Al-Jazeera jour­nal­ist

Late break­ing: Ahmed Man­sour has been freed: Ber­lin pros­e­cu­tors.

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Ger­many said on Mon­day it was “far” from a de­ci­sion on ex­tra­dit­ing a de­tained Al-Jazeera jour­nal­ist to his na­tive Egypt, voic­ing con­cern about the rule of law and hu­man rights there.

Ahmed Man­sour, 52, was ar­rested Satur­day at a Ber­lin air­port hav­ing been ac­cused by Cairo of com­mit­ting a se­ries of crimes, in a case that prompted an­gry ques­tions about press free­dom and Ger­man re­la­tions with Egypt.

The Egyp­tian-Bri­tish dual na­tional was sen­tenced last year by an Egyp­tian court in ab­sen­tia to 15 years in prison on tor­ture and other charges which he has re­jected as “ab­surd.”

Protesters Mon­day ral­lied out­side the Ber­lin de­ten­tion cen­tre where Man­sour was be­ing held, call­ing for his re­lease, while jour­nal­ists de­manded an­swers from the Ger­man gov­ern­ment at a press con­fer­ence.

For­eign Min­istry spokesman Martin Schaefer said that the case was cur­rently in the hands of the Ber­lin jus­tice sys­tem, which had ar­rested Man­sour based on a war­rant is­sued last Oc­to­ber.

But Schaefer also stressed that since then Ber­lin had re­peat­edly voiced con­cern about the rule of law in Egypt un­der Pres­i­dent Ab­del-Fat­tah al-Sisi, amid mass ar­rests of his po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents.

“The gov­ern­ment has re­peat­edly asked ques­tions about the rule of law in Egyp­tian crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings and has re­peat­edly asked the Egyp­tian gov­ern­ment to re­spect hu­man rights and free­dom of ex­pres­sion,” he said.

“Against this back­ground, you will surely un­der­stand that there are doubts in the Man­sour case,” Schaefer said, stress­ing that for now “we are far, far away” from de­cid­ing on an ex­tra­di­tion.

He added, on Egypt’s gen­eral use of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, that “of course no one is ex­tra­dited by Ger­many if he is in dan­ger of fac­ing the death penalty.”

Schaefer also said that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, not just a court, would have to ap­prove an ex­tra­di­tion. A spokesman for the state pros­e­cu­tion ser­vice, Martin Stelt­ner, told AFP that Man­sour “was ar­rested on the ba­sis of a na­tional Egyp­tian ar­rest war­rant.”

On Sun­day a court had is­sued a “de­ten­tion or­der” while his per­sonal de­tails were be­ing checked, and “now the pros­e­cu­tion ser­vice must de­cided whether it re­quests ex­tra­di­tion pro­ceed­ings,” he said.

AP

(Left) Peo­ple at­tend a protest rally in front of a court to sup­port the re­lease of the jour­nal­ist Ahmed Man­sour in Ber­lin on Sun­day, June 21. (Right) Men with tape fixed on their mouths at­tend a demon­stra­tion in front of a court to sup­port the re­lease of the jour­nal­ist Ahmed Man­sour in Ber­lin on Mon­day, June 22.

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