27 July 2018

Tunisia: Osama Bin Laden's Suspected Bodyguard Sami A. Released From Tunisian Prison

Photo: This Day
Osama bin Laden

Sami A., a suspected al-Qaeda-trained bodyguard who once protected Osama Bin Laden, was deported from Germany two weeks ago. A Tunisian judge said no accusations could be made against him at this time.

Sami A., an alleged former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, was released from Tunisian prison on Friday, authorities in the capital Tunis announced.

The 42-year-old Tunisian national was granted provisional release after a judge found that no charges could be brought against him at this time.

"Sami A. appeared today before a magistrate ... who decided on his provisional release as no charge has been filed against him," a prosecution spokesperson said.

Sami A.'s had been kept in custody since being deported from Germany at the behest of the Federal Office for Migration two weeks ago.

However, questions remain over the legality of his deportation. A German court last year had initially blocked him from being sent back to Tunisia after it found that he faced "the considerable likelihood" of "torture and inhumane or degrading treatment" if returned.

An administrative court in Gelsenkirchen described his deportation as "grossly illegal" and demanded he be brought back to Germany. It has threatened to slap the immigration authority in Bochum with a €10,000 ($11,700) fine if it fails to return Sami A. by the end of July.

However, according to the Tunisian government, there have been no efforts on Berlin's part to have him brought back to Germany.

In 2012, German authorities admitted that Sami A. had been living in the city of Bochum for more than decade where, according to reports, he collected almost €1,200 a month in welfare.

According German anti-terror officials, Sami A. is considered a threat although it has never been proven that he was a member of al-Qaeda or any other terrorist group.

Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

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