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Egypt extends detention of Al Jazeera journalist

August 10, 2020 at 2:40 pm

Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein on 11 February 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images]

Egyptian authorities have extended the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein for 45 days adding to the already 1,300 days he has spent behind bars.

Hussein was arrested on 20 December 2016 while he was in Egypt visiting his family and accused of “incitement” and “spreading false news”.

His detention has been repeatedly renewed, despite the fact that in May last year the state prosecutor ordered his release. The order was overridden and rejected by an Egyptian court.

Last month 65-year-old journalist Mohamed Monir died the day after he was released from prison after contracting coronavirus in pretrial detention.

Monir was arrested in June by plainclothes security officers and remanded in custody after appearing on Al Jazeera, which has been outlawed by the Egyptian government and cast as a Muslim Brotherhood mouthpiece.

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Monir had criticised the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2013, Egypt imprisoned Al Jazeera journalists Abdullah Elshamy, Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste for allegedly spreading false news.

Egypt is currently 166 out of 180 countries on the 2020 Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index.

Over the weekend, the appeal of detained researcher Patrick Zaki was rejected by the Cairo Criminal Court and he remains in pretrial detention.

Zaki has been in pretrial detention for 185 days since he was arrested at Cairo Airport whilst on a visit to his family and friends.

He has been beaten and tortured with electric shocks and accused of spreading false news and the misuse of social media.

The Egyptian regime has led an unprecedented crackdown on human rights, imprisoning some 60,000 political detainees and systematically torturing them.