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OSCE calls on Germany to release Al-Jazeera reporter

June 22, 2015

The OSCE called Monday on Germany to release “immediately” Ahmed Mansour, a prominent Al-Jazeera journalist controversially detained in Berlin over the weekend on an arrest warrant issued by his native Egypt.

“With the full respect of the German authorities’ legal obligations, I warn that the detention of journalists is a powerful tool to silence media critical of any government,” said Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe media freedom representative Dunja Mijatovic.

“With this in mind, I call on the German authorities to immediately release Mansour,” Mijatovic said in a statement.

In a case that prompted angry questions about press freedom and German relations with Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the television journalist was arrested Saturday at a Berlin airport having been accused by Cairo of committing “several crimes.”

Dual Egyptian-British national Mansour was expected to appear Monday before a judge, who is to decide whether to keep him in detention and launch extradition procedures or release him, one of his lawyers, Fazli Altin, told reporters.

An Egyptian court 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.

burs-stu/ccr

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.