Egypt releases Al-Jazeera correspondent Mahmoud Hussein under precautionary measures

Ahram Online , Sunday 7 Feb 2021

Hussein was temporarily released in November 2019 by the interior ministry to attend his father's funeral service

Al-Jazeera correspondent Mahmoud Hussein
Al-Jazeera correspondent Mahmoud Hussein

Egyptian correspondent of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel Mahmoud Hussein was released on Saturday from Egypt's Abul-Nomros police station, according to local news reports.

Hussein's release came in implementation of a criminal court’s decision to release him under precautionary measures.

He was detained pending trial in 2016 on charges of spreading false news, joining a banned group and receiving foreign funds. The Qatar-based broadcaster, however, has denied the accusations levelled against him.

In May 2019, a Cairo Criminal Court decided to release Hussein under precautionary measures, but remained in pre-trial detention over similar charges in another case.

In November 2019, Hussein was temporarily released by the interior ministry to attend his father's funeral service, with the ministry describing the move as part of the country's "commitment to the principles of human rights for all prisoners regardless of their political affiliation or background."

The ministry also added at the time that the measure "is in line with its commitment to implementing modern penal policy controls."

Egypt has accused Al-Jazeera and Qatar of supporting the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group. It designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in 2013, months after the ouster of Islamist Ex-President Mohamed Morsy following mass protests.

In June 2017, Egypt along with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain had cut ties and transport links with Qatar , charging that it was too close to Iran and backed terrorist groups -- allegations Doha has always denied.

In January 2021, however, Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry signed the al-Ula agreement for Arab reconciliation with Qatar, which was signed by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states during the 41st GCC summit held in Saudi Arabia.

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