Egypt frees Al Jazeera journalist after four years in detention | Inquirer News

Egypt frees Al Jazeera journalist after four years in detention

/ 10:59 AM February 07, 2021

Mahmoud Hussein (R), an Egyptian national and senior journalist for Qatar-based Al Jazeera Arabic, sips a drink upon his arrival at his family home in the Giza village of Zawyet Abu Musallam, about 30 kilometers south of Egypt’s capital Cairo on February 6, 2021 upon his release from detention. Egypt has freed the journalist for Qatar’s Al Jazeera after four years in jail without trial following the end last month of a rift between the two Arab states. Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian national who had been imprisoned since December 23, 2016, was released on Thursday night, the Egyptian security source told AFP without elaborating. Photo by – / AFP

CAIRO — Egyptian authorities on Saturday released a journalist working for Qatar’s Al Jazeera television network who was held in pre-trial detention for more than four years, his brother and a lawyer told Reuters.

Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian detained in December 2016 after arriving in Cairo from Doha on vacation, was held on charges of spreading false news, joining a banned group and receiving foreign funds.

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He was released after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed in January to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar, severed in 2017 over allegations that Qatar supported terrorism, a charge Doha denies.

A Cairo court ordered Hussein’s release with “precautionary measures”, pending investigations on Feb. 1, his brother, Nageh Hussein, and lawyer Taher Abou al-Nasr told Reuters.

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Abou al-Nasr said prosecutors had not appealed against the decision, as they had against a similar decision in 2019.

It was not immediately clear what the release conditions were but Nageh Hussein said his brother may have to spend several hours a week in a police station.

Al Jazeera Media Network welcomed the news.

“No journalist should ever be subjected to what Mahmoud has suffered for the past four years for merely carrying out his profession,” the TV network said in a statement on its website.

A video posted by his brother on Facebook showed relatives and neighbours receiving him with hugs, chants and drums beating in his village near Cairo.

Egypt freed three Al Jazeera journalists, an Australian, an Egyptian-Canadian and an Egyptian, in 2015 after more than one year in detention pending trial.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has accused Egypt of putting journalists behind bars to muzzle dissent, saying that 27 were in prison as of late 2020.

Egyptian authorities say legal action has only been taken against those who break the law.

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TAGS: Al-Jazeera, Egypt, Mahmoud Hussein, Media
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