Friday, March 5, 2021

Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Hussein launched from jail in Egypt

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Egypt has launched Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein after greater than 4 years in detention with out formal costs or trial.

Hussein, an Egyptian nationwide held underneath preventive detention since December 2016, was launched from jail on Saturday.

In a press release, Mostefa Souag, appearing director common of the community, stated the discharge of Hussein was “a moment of truth and an inspiring milestone towards press freedom”.

“Al Jazeera Media Network welcomes the information of Mahmoud’s freedom and believes that no journalist ought to ever be subjected to what Mahmoud has suffered for the previous 4 years for merely finishing up his occupation.

Mahmoud HusseinMahmoud Hussein was greeted by his household upon his launch in Cairo [Credit: Hussein family]

“Today, we are pleased he is finally reunited with his family, after being robbed four years from his life and deprived of his fundamental rights. We wish Mahmoud a speedy recovery and hope he will be able to overcome this past ordeal and start a new chapter in his distinguished career.”

Earlier on Saturday, Hussein’s daughter Az-Zahraa posted a message on Facebook saying, “Thank God the choice to launch Baba has been carried out.

“… Today, Baba is in his house. Thankfully.”

Extended pre-trial detention

A father of 9, Hussein has a long time of expertise in reporting for Arabic-language information channels. After years of freelance work with Al Jazeera Arabic, Hussein joined the community full-time in 2010, first in Cairo, later in Doha.

The 54-year-old was arrested in Cairo on December 23, 2016, whereas visiting his household for a vacation. He was interrogated for greater than 15 hours with no lawyer current, earlier than being launched after which arrested once more days later.

Egypt’s Ministry of Interior publicly accused him of “disseminating false news and receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities in order to defame the state’s reputation”, however no costs have been ever formally introduced towards him. Hussein and Al Jazeera constantly denied the allegations.

Shortly after his arrest, Al Jazeera launched a worldwide media marketing campaign calling for Hussein’s launch.

Egyptian authorities, nonetheless, prolonged Hussein’s detention greater than a dozen instances, far surpassing the nation’s most interval for pre-trial detention in violation of each Egyptian and worldwide regulation.

During his time in jail, Hussein suffered bodily and psychologically. He was held for lengthy intervals in solitary confinement and denied correct medical remedy when he broke his arm in 2017.

In January 2018, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that the situations of Hussein’s imprisonment amounted to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.

Al Jazeera launched a global marketing campaign for the discharge of Mahmoud Hussein [Al Jazeera]

In May 2019, Hussein was transferred from Cairo’s Tora jail to a holding cell in Giza, in preparation for his launch underneath “precautionary measures”. Under these measures, he was purported to be free of jail with solely restricted restrictions on his motion.

While ready for ultimate clearance, Hussein was instantly transferred to a prosecutor’s workplace after which despatched again to jail. His household waited in useless exterior to greet him.

With no cause given, authorities overturned the choice to launch him on the final minute after which introduced {that a} new investigation had been opened towards Hussein.

‘Symbol of press freedom’

There was no official remark by the Egyptian authorities on Hussein’s launch on Saturday, which got here a month after Egypt and Qatar restored ties following a Gulf summit held in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia.

In June 2017, Egypt joined Qatar’s Gulf neighbours – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – in snapping ties with Doha and launching a blockade towards it, alleging it backed terrorism and was too near regional rival Iran. Qatar denied the claims.

“While he was incarcerated, Mahmoud had become a symbol of press freedom across the globe,” Souag stated in his assertion.

“On the day of his launch, Al Jazeera requires the liberty for all journalists who’re unjustly imprisoned all around the globe.

“We commend all worldwide human rights organisations, media establishments, journalists for his or her steady assist and condemnation towards the arbitrary detention of Mahmoud Hussein.

“On this present day, Al Jazeera Media Network extends its gratitude in direction of these organisations, and all of the voices of fact which have known as for Mahmoud’s freedom and for the liberty of the press.

“Journalism is not a crime,” Souag concluded.

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