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CPJ Urges Egypt to Stop 'Campaign' Against Al-Jazeera

FILE - An employee of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network passes by an Al-Jazeera logo at the network's offices in Doha, Qatar.

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is urging Egypt to stop what it describes as "a politically motivated campaign" against the pan-Arabic Al Jazeera network. A CPJ statement Sunday also called on Germany to release jailed Al Jazeera reporter Ahmad Mansour immediately.

Mansour, an Egyptian-British reporter with the network's Arabic service, was detained Saturday in Berlin on an Egyptian warrant 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 has repeatedly denied the charges, with the network calling them "absurd."

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.