Court says suspected Osama bin Laden bodyguard need not return to Germany | News | DW | 21.11.2018
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Court says suspected Osama bin Laden bodyguard need not return to Germany

Sami A. was deported to Tunisia in July. The court that tried to stop his deportation has overturned its prior ruling after receiving assurances Sami would not be tortured in his native country.

German authorities no longer need to bring suspected jihadist Sami A. back from Tunisia after a court that previously deemed he had been illegally sent to his native country overturned its ruling on Wednesday.

The administrative court in Gelsenkirchen said it no longer had reason to believe that the suspected former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden would be tortured in his native country.

It said the Tunisian government's pledge to the German government that it would not torture Sami A. sufficed to eliminate previous concerns.

Not getting fax on time

The court had ordered authorities in July to return Sami to Germany after he was deported to his native country.

Judges had blocked the deportation days before it took place over concerns Sami could be tortured in Tunisia. German law forbids deportations if the person affected faces the death penalty or torture in their native country.

The court subsequently criticized immigration authorities for the failing, accusing them of "knowingly" defying the order. Officials said however that they only received the order by fax after the plane carrying Sami had taken off.

Watch video 00:11

Angela Merkel comments on Sami A.

Alleged links to Al-Qaeda

Tunisian authorities have refused to send Sami back and kept him in custody on terrorism charges.

The suspected Islamist first arrived in Germany as a student in 1997.

Authorities accused him of attending military training camps operated by al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 1999 and 2000. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and urges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

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