Tunisia releases alleged bin Laden bodyguard

Authorities said investigations into the man would continue but no charges filed

FILE - In this 1998 file photo made available on March 19, 2004, Osama bin Laden is seen at a news conference in Khost, Afghanistan. Never-before seen video of Osama bin Laden’s son and potential successor was released Nov. 1, 2017, by the CIA in a trove of material recovered during the May 2011 raid that killed the al-Qaida leader at his compound in Pakistan. The video offers the first public look at Hamza bin Laden as an adult. Until now, the public has only seen childhood pictures of him. In recent years, al-Qaida has released audio messages from Hamza bin Laden. (AP Photo/Mazhar Ali Khan, File)
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Tunisia has released a man alleged to have been Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard citing a lack of evidence. Sami Aidoudi was from deported from Germany two weeks amid accusations he was an Islamist militant that had trained in Afghanistan.

Tunisian authorities said there was not enough evidence to continue holding Mr Aidoudi but investigations would continue. The Tunisian citizen unsuccessfully applied for applied unsuccessfully for asylum in Germany in 2006. For years he had to report to police but was never charged with an offence

"Sami Aidoudi appeared today before a magistrate... who decided on his provisional release as no charge has been filed against him," prosecution spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP.

After 15 days of preventative detention, Sami Idoudi has been investigated by the anti-terrorist branch who have found no proof of his implication in terrorist affairs", said Mr Sliti.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who has taken a tough line on immigration, accused Mr Aidoudi in May of having been bin Laden's bodyguard and said he should be deported.

Aidoudi always denied the allegations but was arrested in June and deported a month later on 13th July. German opposition and rights groups had criticised the decision to deport Mr Aidoudi, saying he could face torture in Tunisia..

Bizzarely, his expulsion from Germany on July 13 was overturned by a court ruling the same day, but the order was made only after his plane was already airborne. The German court added that authorities "knowingly" defied the order by completing the transfer to Tunisian security forces.

German conservative lawmaker Armin Schuster said Tunisia’s decision to release the suspect proved Germany was right to extradite him.

"If the Tunisian authorities have released him, then that breaks up the argument that he could face torture there," he told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.

Germany should block Mr Aidoudi from re-entering the country if he tried to do so, he added.


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