Al Jazeera has condemned the continued imprisonment without charge of its journalist Mahmoud Hussein by the Egyptian authorities.
Wednesday marks four years that Hussein has spent “in prison under arbitrary and illegal detention by the Egyptian authorities”, the network said in a statement.
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“Hussein remains detained without formal charges nor trial, making his detention period a violation of both Egyptian and international laws.”
Mahmoud Hussein was arrested on December 23, 2016, while visiting his family for a holiday.
“Since then, he has suffered, both physically and mentally, under the arbitrary imprisonment of the Egyptian authorities,” Al Jazeera said.
During his time in prison, Mahmoud Hussein’s detention has far surpassed the maximum period for pre-trial detention, violating both Egyptian and international law.
Egyptian authorities eluded the law by releasing Hussein at the two-year mark and subsequently rearresting him.
Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera Media Network, said: “The repeated cycle of renewing his detention must come to an end and his release must be immediate.
“At Al Jazeera, we stand in solidarity with all our colleagues in the media. We believe that no journalist should be intimidated, persecuted or imprisoned for carrying out their duty,” he said.
“We believe in the fundamental truth that freedom of journalism is the very basic building block to uphold the values of democracy and human rights.”
Press freedom abuse
This month, Hussein was ranked second in the One Free Press Coalition’s list of 10 most urgent cases of press freedom abuses around the world.
In addition, The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) honoured Hussein as the recipient of its Percy Qoboza Award.
This annual award honours the groundbreaking and often dangerous work done by foreign journalists.
According to a 2020 report by the Committee to Protest Journalists, Egyptian authorities, intensified their spree of arrests, charges and indefinite renewals of pre-trial detention, bringing the number of journalists in jail to 27, matching a record set in 2016.
“Al Jazeera calls on all journalists, human rights advocates and people of conscience to stand with Mahmoud and other imprisoned journalists; to express their solidarity through all available means and demand their immediate freedom; allowing them to reunite with their families and loved ones at this critical juncture,” the network said.
“We cannot and will not remain silent in the face of this abhorrent injustice that our colleagues endure.”