The Al-Jazeera journalist who was detained in Berlin on an Egyptian arrest warrant has been released from custody, a spokesman for the Berlin prosecutors’ office said on Monday.
Stefan Stoehr said Ahmed Mansour “is free,” but could not immediately provide any more details.
The well-known 52-year-old journalist was detained on Saturday on an Egyptian warrant at Berlin’s Tegel airport as he tried to board a Qatar Airways flight to Doha.
A dual Egyptian-British citizen, he was convicted in absentia in Egypt on charges that his lawyers and reporters’ groups call politically motivated.
Mansour’s attorney Patrick Teubner said that it was his understanding that 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.
“I think that was absolutely the right decision,” Teubner told The Associated Press. “There was no other alternative.” Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the justice building before Mansour was released, carrying signs with slogans including “stop the bloodbath in Egypt” and “freedom for Ahmed Mansour.”
After news broke of his release, Al-Jazeera General Manager Yasser Abu Hilala spoke to the broadcaster in a studio in Qatar saying “this is a happy day.”
“It is a victory for the freedom of the press in the face of authorities,” he said.
German Justice Ministry spokesman Piotr Malachowski said Mansour had been picked up on the basis of a request from Interpol, which had gone through his ministry and the Foreign Ministry and then was routinely passed along to federal police.
Mansour’s detention is the latest in a long series of legal entanglements between Egypt and satellite news channels.
According to court documents, he was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison, alongside two Muslim Brotherhood members and an Islamic preacher, for allegedly torturing a lawyer in Tahrir Square in 2011, a charge both he and the channel rejects.