The arrest of Ahmed Mansour

Statement of the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Socialist Equality Party) of Germany

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG—Socialist Equality Party) of Germany unequivocally condemns the arrest of the internationally known journalist Ahmed Mansour on Saturday at Berlin Tegel Airport.

Regardless of the fact that Mansour has since been released and no longer faces the threat of extradition to Egypt, his arrest is an extremely ominous event.

Mansour, a journalist with Al Jazeera and citizen of both Egypt and Britain, has not violated any German, European or international law. The only basis for his arrest was a warrant issued by the dictatorial regime in Egypt. The German police thus arrested Mansour solely on the basis of the groundless accusations of one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world.

The government of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is the gravedigger of the Egyptian revolution, which in early 2011 swept from office the country’s former longtime dictator, Hosni Mubarak. Al-Sisi came to power two years ago via a violent military coup against Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi. Since then, the Egyptian police and army have massacred thousands of opponents of the regime, imprisoned tens of thousands more, and sentenced more than a thousand political prisoners to death, including Mursi himself.

Mansour was arrested because he is a critic of these policies. In Berlin, he was interviewed by Guido Steinberg of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (Institute for International and Security Affairs). On Sunday, Steinberg charged the German authorities of assisting the Egyptian regime “in silencing its dissidents.”

It is now clear that the decision to arrest Mansour was taken at the highest political level. According to media reports, the federal criminal office and federal police consulted with the Foreign Office and the Federal Office of Justice before the arrest. According to Zeit Online, “the decision for an investigation…was made following government discussions.”

The arrest took place just three weeks after al-Sisi was received in Berlin with full military honors by German President Joachim Gauck, Christian Democratic Chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democratic Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The purpose of the visit was to establish closer economic and political relations between the al-Sisi dictatorship and Germany.

Saturday’s arrest clarifies the political content of that visit. The fact that the German government is working closely with a tyrant to persecute his political opponents not only reveals the worthlessness of its talk of “democracy,” “peace” and “human rights.” It signifies that the German state is preparing to adopt the same methods at home.

The arrest of Ahmed Mansour is aimed at intimidating all critical journalists and political dissidents worldwide. From now on, every opponent of a repressive regime must fear being detained in Europe should his government request it.

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit warns that this arrest is part of ongoing preparations for police-state measures in Germany. The plans of the German elite to massively upgrade its military and pursue an aggressive foreign policy throughout Europe and around the world ultimately require that the same violent methods employed against the Egyptian people be employed against the German population.

All of the major parties support Germany’s return to great power politics and militarization. None of them stepped out of line when the red carpet was rolled out in Berlin for the hangman of Cairo. The German Left Party made overtures to obtain its own appointment with the dictator.

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit calls on workers and intellectuals to forcefully denounce the arrest of Ahmed Mansour and oppose the introduction of police-state measures.