The Egyptian authorities have released journalist Mahmoud Hussein after more than four years in custody. The Egyptian worked for the Qatari TV channel al-Jazeera. He was arrested on his return to Cairo in December 2016 after a holiday in Doha and jailed for spreading false news, joining a banned group, and accepting foreign money.
Authorities accused Hussein of membership of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that has now been banned in Egypt. The Al Jazeera journalist was also accused of spreading false information.
The journalist was released this afternoon after a court-ordered his release last week, an anonymous source confirms.
Hussein’s daughter also confirms his release. A court already ruled in May 2019 that Hussein should be released, but he was then imprisoned again on the basis of other charges.
Hussein was released a few weeks after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt decided to restore trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar. Those were broken in 2017 after allegations of terrorist support, something Doha has always denied.
Egypt accuses the international medium Al Jazeera of not reporting objectively and of being a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Qatari network has always denied those allegations. Al-Jazeera greeted the news with the statement: “… no journalist should ever be exposed to what Mahmoud has been through for the past four years simply because he was doing his job.”