The Egyptian authorities have allowed detained Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein to attend his father’s funeral, the news channel reported yesterday.
Mahmoud’s father, 74-year-old Hussein Jumaa passed away on Tuesday. His family had appealed to authorities to allow his son to attend his funeral.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement yesterday that the temporary release is part of the country’s “commitment to the principles of human rights for all prisoners regardless of their political affiliation or background.” It added that the measure is “in line with its commitment to implementing modern penal policy controls”.
Hussein was arrested in December 2016 after visiting his family in Egypt and has been in pre-trial detention for over 1,000 days, accused with incitement against state institutions and spreading chaos and broadcasting false news.
In May the state prosecutor ordered his release but then a new investigation was launched and he was returned to prison. This is common practice for political prisoners in Egypt and has been dubbed the “revolving door” policy of arrest and re-arrest by rights watchdog Amnesty International.
Since the 2013 coup the Sisi regime has portrayed Al Jazeera as an enemy of the state for its coverage of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood organisation. In 2017 the government blocked access to the website, regarding it too critical of the regime.
The news channel has denied all allegations against it and its staff.