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Germany deports 'bin Laden bodyguard' to Tunisia: ministry

AFP  |  Berlin 

A Tunisian man who allegedly worked as a for was deported from today, more than a decade after his asylum bid was first rejected, officials said.

The 42-year-old, identified by German authorities only as Sami A and by as Sami Idoudi, had lived in for more than two decades, but outrage over his presence grew in recent months as cracks down on failed asylum seekers.

"I can confirm that Sami A was sent back to this morning and handed over to Tunisian authorities," told reporters, following a report in the top-selling Bild newspaper.

"He was placed under arrest just after his arrival in Tunis," a for the Tunisian anti-terror force, Sofiene Sliti, told AFP.

Sami A had previously successfully argued against his deportation, saying he risked being tortured in his homeland.

A court in the city of ruled against the deportation late yesterday, upholding the assessment that the suspect potentially faced "torture and inhumane treatment".

However the decision only reached federal authorities -- by fax -- this morning, after Sami A's flight to had taken off, DPA agency reported.

Considered a security threat over his suspected ties to Islamist groups, Sami A has for years had to report to police but was never charged with an offence.

He has always denied being the former of late bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks on the

Judges in a 2015 terror case in the German city of however said they believed Sami A underwent military training at an camp in in 1999 and 2000 and belonged to bin Laden's team of guards.

German authorities first rejected Sami A's asylum request in 2007 but prosecutors' efforts to expel him were repeatedly blocked by courts citing the danger of torture in

An unrelated court ruling last month involving another Tunisian man -- accused over a 2015 attack on -- helped pave the way for Sami A's expulsion.

In that instance, German judges found that the accused did not face the threat of the penalty as has had a moratorium on implementing capital punishment since 1991.

Germany's hardline interior minister, Horst Seehofer, seized on the precedent to say he hoped Sami A would be next, calling on migration officers to make the case "a priority".

Bild led a vocal campaign against Sami A's presence in Germany, with revelations that he collects nearly 1,200 euros (USD 1,400) a month in welfare sparking particular outrage.

Sami A has a wife and children who are German citizens.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 20:45 IST