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'No extradition for Mansour'

Interview: Andrea RönsbergJune 22, 2015

Al-Jazeera journalist Ahmed Mansour is facing extradition to Egypt after having been detained in Germany. The president of the German Federation of Journalists warns against extraditing Mansour.

Protesters hold signs reading 'Being a journalist is not a crime- free the journalist Ahmed Mansour in front of the criminal court in Berlin on June 22, 2015.
Image: Getty Images/AFP/A. Berry

DW: What are you most upset about - that Mansour was detained or that he might be extradited?

Michael Konken: I am very upset about both. I am upset because we don't know how countries like Egypt arrive at the kind of charges Mr. Mansour is facing. We don't know whether these charges are motivated by the fact that he reported critically about the government - a government that then came up with charges and accusations to silence this journalist.

But I am also very upset about the fact that Mr Mansour is facing extradition. Germany is a democratic state which attaches great value to civil liberties and to press freedom in particular. We have to protect journalists and must not extradite them.

Portrait of Michael Konken
Michael Konken is president of the German Federation of Journalists, or DJV.Image: picture-alliance/dpa/H.-C. Dittrich

Yet if there was an international arrest warrant, isn't the judiciary bound to act on it?

But we have to consider that Mr. Mansour would be extradited to a country in which he will very likely face the death penalty. We also have to consider that we don't really know how the charges and the arrest warrant against him were arrived at.

Mr. Mansour seems not to have been aware that an international arrest warrant had been issued, so that's very dubious. In a situation like this, a journalist who finds himself in Germany must be protected and must not be extradited to a country which both has the death penalty in its statutes and enforces it as well.

After all, we in Germany protect other people who come to us fleeing torture and the death penalty elsewhere, so it is logical that we should protect those that find themselves here and not extradite them to countries that have and enforce the death penalty.

What would you want the judiciary to do?

There is only one thing it can do and that is to set Mr. Mansour free and not extradite him to Egypt.

Michael Konken is the president of the German Federation of Journalists (Deutscher Journalisten Verband, DJV).