A former bodyguard of Usama bin Laden now living in Germany is getting about $1,400 a month in welfare payments and can’t be deported to his native Tunisia because of fears he could be tortured there, German media reported Tuesday.
The 42-year-old man, identified only as “Sami A.” because of media privacy laws, has been living freely in Germany since 1997 and has a wife and three children, German tabloid Bild reported.
The figure was released in response to inquiries from the Alternative for Germany party (AfD), which is staunchly opposed to immigration.
Sami. A is still considered to be dangerous and required to report to police every day, according to The Evening Standard. He was branded as “an acute and considerable danger for public security,” and had his asylum application rejected.
In an anti-terror trial in 2005, a witness testified that in 2000 Sami. A served for several months as one of Bin Laden’s bodyguards in Afghanistan, the BBC reported.
In 2012, Spiegel Online reported that German authorities regarded him as a “dangerous preacher,” who was responsible for radicalizing two men who were planning a bomb attack in the country.
He cannot be deported back to Tunisia, however, because the German government believes he could be tortured there.
“Suspected jihadists face the risk of torture in North Africa, according to the German government,” according to the BBC. “So Tunisia and its Arab neighbors are not on the list of safe countries of origin to which migrants can be deported.”
The AfD blasted the decision on Tuesday after the information was disclosed.
“What fate awaits Sami A. in Tunisia is not the problem of German taxpayers,” the AfD said in a statement. “However, to protect and financially equip an Islamist, to feed hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, while for their own population less and less remains, but this fits the [Chancellor Angela] Merkel Germany of this time.”
Bin Laden was the founder of Al Qaeda and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the U.S. He was shot dead in a U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan in 2011.