Ahmed Mansour, a television reporter for Al Jazeera, has been detained in Germany on an arrest warrant from Egypt. Both the network and journalists everywhere are outraged.
The 52-year-old was arrested at Berlin’s Tegel Airport on an Egyptian warrant. The journalist was sentenced to 15 years in jail — in absentia — for supposedly torturing a lawyer in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011, during that country’s revolution.
First of all, since when does Germany have an extradition treaty with Egypt? Germany is a pluralistic democracy and part of the European Union. Egypt is not a democracy, nor is it known for having a fair criminal justice system. Mansour has dual British and Egyptian citizenship which means that he is a citizen of the European Union.
“The temporary detention investigative judge has concluded his investigation with Ahmed Mansour and he has been transferred to Moabit prison in Berlin, ” Al Jazeera said on its website on Sunday.
“The crackdown on journalists by Egyptian authorities is well known, ” said Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera network.
“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.
“Ahmed Mansour is one of the Arab world’s most respected journalists and must be released immediately.”
Whatever one thinks of Al-Jazeera and its political biases, the idea that someone can be “extradited” from a Western democracy like Germany to a dictatorial nation with few, if any, rights for criminal defendants is scary to say the least.