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German court rules deported Tunisian should not be returned to Germany

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BERLIN (Reuters) – A German court ruled on Wednesday that a suspected Islamist militant who was deported to Tunisia in July must not be returned to Germany, saying it no longer believed the man faced torture or human rights abuses in his native land.

Sami Aidoudi was deported in July, despite a court ruling hours before he left that said he should be allowed to stay. Another court demanded he be returned to Germany, saying he could be tortured in Tunisia.

In the latest ruling on Wednesday, a court said he should not be returned because he had not been “tortured or had his human rights mistreated since his deportation to Tunisia.”

It also said Germany had received reliable assurances at the highest political and diplomatic levels that Aidoudi would be protected from torture and human rights abuses.

Aidoudi, referred to only as Sami A. in Germany but named in Tunisia, was released by the Tunisian authorities two weeks after his arrival, saying there was not enough evidence to hold him. But they said investigations would continue.

Attorneys for Aidoudi, who had applied unsuccessfully for asylum in Germany in 2006, told Die Welt newspaper they would consider appealing latest German court ruling.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who has taken a tough line on immigration, in May called for Aidoudi’s deportation and accused him of being an Islamist militant who once served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard.

Aidoudi has always denied the allegations.

Tunisia, which has won international praise for its transition since the toppling of authoritarian leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, has agreed on a constitution guaranteeing fundamental rights, held elections and largely avoided the political turmoil seen elsewhere in the region.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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