CAIRO: Despite Egyptian efforts to extradite Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour from Germany to Egypt, he was released Monday from a German prison after two days of detention, Reuters reported the Berlin state prosecutor as saying.
“No one will be extradited from Germany if they face the death penalty,” Reuters quoted spokesperson for the Germany Foreign Ministry Martin Schaefer as saying earlier Monday.
“Egypt has launched a politically motivated campaign against Al-Jazeera and is now abusing the international system,” CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said Sunday.
The Interpol previously rejected an Egyptian request to issue a red notice against Mansour in October 2014 because it did not meet the standards of the Interpol, according to Mansour’s lawyer.
British-Egyptian Al-Jazeera anchor Mansour was arrested Saturday in Berlin while heading to Qatar. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Adel Atty told The Cairo Post the Egyptian government is following up with its German counterpart to deport Mansour to Egypt.
Mansour was sentenced in absentia in October 2014 to 15 years in prison. He was found guilty of torturing a lawyer for three days in a travel company near Tahrir Square in 2011. The Egyptian judiciary tends to issue long prison terms for those tried in absentia, and then retries them once they appear in court.
Details of torture case, controversial Al-Jazeera interview
Lawyer Osama Kamal filed the lawsuit in 2011, but investigations only began after the military ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. He complained that in February 2011, someone stopped him at the entrance of Tahrir Square and asked for his ID. Since he did not have his ID at the time, a group of men accused him of being a State Security Investigations Service officer and detained him inside a tourist company at the square. He alleged he was then tortured for three days.
Protesters during the January 25 Revolution, which led to the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, 2011, did in fact guard the entrance of their famous sit-in at Tahrir Square by searching and screening the IDs of people coming in.
Mansour’s alleged involvement in the case perhaps stems from an interview he conducted in August 2011. Mansour interviewed Brotherhood preacher Safwat Hegazy on his show, “Witness to the Revolution,” and in the interview, Hegazy said that protesters caught a group of “thugs” on Feb. 10, 2011, and asked Mansour, “Do you remember, when we brought them to the room and the youth?”
“Oh, right,” Mansour replied, “but one of them, I heard his confession, he said that he was there for a specific task, to slaughter someone on the podium while TV cameras were filming.”
Hegazy said that protesters had captured “a plain-clothes officer near Tahrir Square,” referring to Kamal, during the January 25 Revolution.
“They brought him to us and we did the impossible so that he confessed. That’s why I became sure he was indeed a state security officer,” Hegazy said. “No one would bear what happened to this man unless he was trained.”
“Any confession without a court or a prosecution does not count, but I heard their confessions,” Mansour said before continuing, “you (Hegazy) were telling the youth not to beat him, and they told me to ‘come and hear what the man who Dr. Hegazy told us not to beat has to say.”
After the two of them laughed, Hegazy said, “In fact, I insisted that our revolution remain peaceful. Do you remember the State Security officer that the youths caught?”
“Tell us about this State Security officer, because still, the State Security denies involvement,” Mansour replied.
Videos of Kamal’s beating had been uploaded by a number of Youtube accounts. The oldest video was uploaded by “SoundofEgypt” in May 2012.
The videos show Brotherhood members interrogating a hand-tied, bruised, topless Kamal, who is crying out in pain at slaps, pinches and other forms of abuse.
In a different parts of the video, Kamal had “Major Osama Kamal, state security officer” written on his chest. Other hand-tied men also appeared in the video.
Additional reporting by Sara Ghali