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Al-Jazeera journalist Mansour's arrest meets criticism in Germany

German politicans and leaders have questioned the basis for journalist Ahmed Mansour's detention. The head of the German Journalists Association says the British-Egyptian journalist should not be extradited to Egypt.

Demonstration Freiheit für Ahmed Mansour

'Being a journalist is not a crime,' the placard reads

Michael Konken, chairman of the German Journalists Association (DJV), told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger on Monday that authorities needed to "quickly clarify" the basis used to arrest Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour.

The British-Egyptian journalist was arrested by German authorities at Berlin's Tegel airport on Saturday while attempting to board a flight destined for Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Konken added that Germany "cannot extradite journalists to Egypt" since it is questionable whether the prosecution of Mansour adhered to "fair constitutional rules."

In 2014, Mansour was tried in absentia for allegedly torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square, for which he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Mansour and Al-Jazeera have vehemently denied the charges.

Fazli Altin, Mansour's lawyer, said he was denied bail on Sunday and would remain in detention. A spokesman for the Berlin public prosecutor confirmed that Mansour was to remain in custody, adding that details would be released later, DPA news agency reported.

Deportation 'problematic'

The Christian Democratic Union's foreign policy expert Philipp Missfelder told Der Spiegel Online that the question of deportation was "problematic" given Egypt's latest verdicts.

"I think deportations or transfers to countries where the death penalty exists is very problematic," Mißfelder said.

Ahmed Mansour

Mansour is a prominent journalist for Al-Jazeera's Arabic service

Niels Annen, foreign policy spokesperson for the Social Democrat parliamentary group, also told the German periodical that questions over Mansour's arraignement needed to be answered.

"The arrest of Mr. Mansour raises many question that need to be clarified as soon as possible, because Germany must not become the henchman of a politically controlled Egyptian judiciary," Annen said.

Germany's federal police initially said they had arrested Mansour on the basis of an international arrest warrant initiated by Egypt. However, Interpol said that it had not issued a "red notice" for the British-Egyptian journalist after Egypt filed for one, since the organization's requirements were not met.

Judges in Berlin are expected to hear Mansour's case on Monday to decide how to proceed and whether there is a basis for his detention. If extradition is approved by judicial authorities, it could still be blocked by the German government.

ls/msh (dpa, AFP, AP)

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