A suspected former bodyguard of Osama Bin Laden has been deported back to his homeland of Tunisia after outrage over his £1,000-a-month welfare payments from the German government.
The former aide to al-Qaeda chief bin Laden has been locked in a long-running legal battle to stay in Germany where he has been living with his family since 1997.
But Sami A., whose last name has been withheld by the courts due to German privacy laws, was put on a flight from Düsseldorf early on Friday, despite a court ruling against his deportation.
The faxed court decision reached the authorities too late to stop him being deported, a court official said.
The 42-year-old was flown to Tunis on a charter aircraft and handed over to Tunisian authorities, Germany's interior ministry spokeswoman Annegret Korff said.
'I can confirm that Sami A. was sent back to Tunisia this morning and handed over to Tunisian authorities,' added Ms Korff.
An administrative court in the western city of Gelsenkirchen had ruled on Thursday that he should remain in Germany until the government receives guarantees he won't face torture in his homeland.
But the fax informing authorities about the court's decision was sent on Friday morning - after the suspected extremist had already landed in Tunisia.
He had lived with his wife and four children in the western city of Bochum since 2005, where he was receiving €1,168 (£1,022) a month in welfare payments.
Sami A. also had an asylum application was rejected in 2007 and denied having jihadi links after being taken into custody in June.
being described as a former bodyguard to the former al-Qaeda leader and
deemed a dangerous Islamist by German security forces, authorities in
the state of North Rhine-Westphalia could not deport him.
According to the court officials, this was due to a 2017 ruling by a German court that found that Sami A. faced 'the considerable likelihood' of 'torture and inhumane or degrading treatment' if he returned to Tunisia.
A recent ruling set a legal precedent and paved the way for his deportation.
But because of the subsequent ruling stating he should remain in Germany until a final decision was made, Sami A. could be returned to Germany even after his successful deportation.
Bin Laden approved the devastating 9/11 terror atrocities on the New York in 2001 which killed 2,977 people.
The Saudi national ran the al-Qaeda jihadist network until he was shot dead by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011.
Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden approved the devastating 9/11 terror atrocities on the New York in 2001 which killed 2,977 people
At least three of the 9/11 suicide pilots were members of an al-Qaeda cell based in Hamburg, northern Germany.
Sami A. was investigated for alleged al-Qaeda links in 2006, but he was not charged.
According to witness testimony from a German anti-terror trial in 2005, Sami A. served for several months in 2000 as one of Bin Laden's bodyguards in Afghanistan.
He denied the allegation, but judges in Düsseldorf believed the witness, it was said.
German authorities believe he left the country to undergo military training at an Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan in 1999 and 2000 and later belonged to bin Laden's team of guards.
Sami A. received a temporary residence permit in Germany in 1999 and took several technology courses.