Cairo: A court in Cairo on Thursday ordered the release of an Al-Jazeera journalist, arrested more than two years ago on charges of spreading “false news”.
Mahmoud Hussein’s daughter Zahra Mahmoud Hussein said the court freed her father on precautionary measures, Efe news reported.
“The court ordered his release on Tuesday, but the prosecutor’s office appealed the decision and today (Thursday) the release was confirmed,” she told the news agency. “I don’t know if he will be released tonight (Thursday) or on Saturday, because tomorrow (Friday) is an off day,” she said.
The 52-year-old news producer was arrested on December 23, 2016, in Cairo, where he was on vacation. He has been confined since then in Egypt’s Tora Prison under a preventive detention order that has been renewed despite continuous appeals from his legal defence.
Hussein began working for Doha headquartered Al-Jazeera in 2010 as a correspondent in Cairo, a position he held until the closure of its Egyptian office by government order in 2013, shortly after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted.
After the closure of the Al-Jazeera office in Egypt, he spent a year without work. Later he worked as a correspondent for media abroad and returned to the Qatari channel in Doha.
Egypt snapped diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017 for its support to the Muslim Brotherhood and sponsoring terrorist groups. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also made the same allegations, which were rejected by Doha.
One of the main demands of these four Arab countries is that Qatar shut Al-Jazeera channel.
Hussein is not the only journalist from the media outlet to be arrested in Egypt. Three other Al-Jazeera journalists were detained in December 2013 and sentenced to between seven years and 10 years in prison for the same charges.
They were subsequently released in 2016.