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Al-Jazeera Journalist Detained in Berlin Freed

  • VOA News

Ahmed Mansour waves as he leaves the security checkpoint of the Moabit jail in Berlin, Germany, June 22, 2015.

Ahmed Mansour waves as he leaves the security checkpoint of the Moabit jail in Berlin, Germany, June 22, 2015.

An Al Jazeera journalist detained in Germany on an Egyptian arrest warrant has been released from custody.

A statement for Berlin's state prosecutor's office says 52-year-old journalist Ahmed Mansour "is free."

Mansour, an Egyptian-British reporter with the network's Arabic service, was detained Saturday on an Egyptian warrant at Berlin's Tegel airport while trying to board a plane to Qatar. A German judge on Sunday ordered him held while prosecutors review the case.

Mansour was sentenced in absentia by an Egyptian court last year to 15 years in prison on charges of participating in the torture of an Egyptian lawyer during the 2011 anti-government uprising in Cairo that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

Mansour and the network have repeatedly denied the charges, calling them "absurd."

Mansour's attorney Patrick Teubner said it was his understanding there were no strings attached to his client's release and that there were no further charges or legal matters pending against him in Germany.

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged Egypt to stop what it describes as "a politically motivated campaign" against the pan-Arabic Al Jazeera network.

The CPJ on Sunday described the threat of jail in Egypt as "part of an atmosphere of censorship and self-censorship" in the country since anti-Islamist President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi took office last year.

In a separate case, Egypt released Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste earlier this year after 400 days in prison on charges that included aiding a terrorist group. Two other reporters for the network are awaiting retrial.

Critics of the Cairo government accuse the West of ignoring what they say is Egypt's ongoing crackdown on dissent, in exchange for security cooperation with Cairo.

Portions of this report are from AP.

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