Released Egyptian journalist praises Erdoğan, Davutoğlu
BERLIN - Anadolu Agency
AFP photoAl Jazeera TV journalist Ahmed Mansour, who was released June 22 after being arrested in Germany, has thanked Turkey’s president and prime minister for their support during his detention in Berlin.
“I thank the freedom leader, not only for his own people, but for all the people of the world, [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” Mansour told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency after his release. “He was the only leader in the world to support me while I was in police custody,” Mansour said.
“Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also called my lawyer twice to ask about his situation,” he added.
“Thank you Turkey, thank you Turkish president and Turkish prime minister,” Mansour said.
Mansour said it was Egyptian authorities who asked for his “politically-motivated” detention by the federal German police, adding his release was a “major defeat and a loss for the [Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi administration in Berlin.”
He also urged all journalists in the world to be persistent on freedoms. “Fight to be free and do not hold back. No dictatorship lasts forever,” he said.
An Egyptian court in 2014 sentenced Mansour for “torturing a lawyer in 2011 on Tahrir Square” in Cairo, the epicenter of an anti-regime uprising that brought down former president Hosni Mubarak.
The journalist had told Al-Jazeera he rejected the “absurd” accusations, adding he was also facing rape, kidnapping and robbery charges - accusations which he also denied.
Al Jazeera TV confirmed June 22 that German authorities had released its veteran journalist after detaining him for two days upon Egypt’s request.
Mansour said his arrest was made under political influence. “This was an arrest requested by Egyptian authorities to German authorities,” he said.
The journalist highlighted the independence of Germany’s courts. “They did not accept repression and the political repression of a regime outside Germany and decided to free Ahmed Mansour,” he said.
The German prosecutor general decided to release Mansour without indicting him, according to Al Jazeera, but it was not yet clear if he would be allowed to leave Germany.
Mansour, who has both Egyptian and British citizenship, was arrested on June 20 in Berlin as he was about to board a plane to Qatar.
The Egyptian government has accused Al Jazeera of bias in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood group - an allegation the channel denies.