The alleged former bodyguard of Osama Bin Laden is being held for deportation in Germany, after living in the country for two decades.
The 41-year-old, a suspected Islamic radical who is being referred to as Sami A., has been living with his wife and four children in Bochum, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, since he arrived in Germany in 1997 on a student visa.
He has so-far claimed that he would be tortured in his homeland of Tunisia if he was forced to return. And up until now German courts have been receptive to his claims.
However, a spokesman for the city of Bochum confirmed on Tuesday that Sami. A. was detained on Monday pending deportation, and that he offered no resistance.
The case of Sami A. sparked a public outcry in Germany in April, after German tabloid Bild newspaper reported that he was receiving welfare benefits of about 1,200 Euros a month, despite being classed as a potential threat by intelligence agencies.
During a trial in Düsseldorf in 2005 it was alleged that Sami. A. was a member of al-Qaeda, the militant Islamist movement that was founded and led by Osama bin Laden and which carried out the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001.
A witness told the judge that Sami. A. had worked for bin Laden, who was shot dead in May 2011 in Pakistan in an operation by U.S. special forces, and that he had trained at one of bin Laden’s terrorist camps in 2000. Sami. A. has denied the claims and prosecutors dropped the investigation in 2007 due to a lack of evidence.
The revelations about his welfare payments arose after the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party made enquiries about him. Germany’s Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, a CSU politician, has ordered immigration authorities to start proceedings.
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