Tunisian authorities have confiscated the passport of a man suspected of being an Islamist militant to prevent him from leaving the country to return to Germany. The suspect is also man who once served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard.
Germany deported Sami Aidoudi to Tunis in July, but a German court on Wednesday demanded his return, saying he may face torture in his native Tunisia, an allegation the North African country has denied.
The Tunisian authorities initially detained Aidoudi after his arrival in Tunis, but released him after two weeks for lack of evidence.
A judiciary official on Friday confirmed the confiscation of his passport, barring him from leaving the country until the outcome of an investigation.
“The investigation is ongoing… His passport has been confiscated by a court (in case he gets charged),” a spokesman of Tunisia’s anti-terrorist judiciary body Sofian Sliti said.
A spokesman for the German government said Berlin was in constant contact with Tunis via its embassy there and would continue to discuss the case.
German opposition and rights groups criticized the decision to deport Aidoudi, saying he could face torture in his home country and citing a German court decision that he should be allowed to stay.
Aidoudi has always denied the allegations of having been bin Laden’s bodyguard.