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Egypt extends detention of Al Jazeera journalists

The exterior of the broadcast center of the Al Jazeera English news channel on March 22, 2011 in Doha, Qatar. [Benjamin Lowy/Reportage by Getty Images]
The exterior of the broadcast center of the Al Jazeera English news channel on March 22, 2011 in Doha, Qatar. [Benjamin Lowy/Reportage by Getty Images]

The Cairo Criminal Court yesterday renewed the detention of two Al Jazeera Mubasher journalists. Hisham Abdelaziz and Bahaa El-Din Ibrahim will be held for an additional 45 days pending investigation.

Abdulaziz is reported to have spent more than 1,000 days behind bars since his arrest by Egyptian security forces during a family visit to Cairo. His detention has been renewed repeatedly by the local authorities despite having exceeded the pre-trial detention period designated by law. Ibrahim has now been in pre-trial detention for 750 days.

Sources at the Qatari-owned network have said that the Egyptian authorities are also holding two other Al Jazeera journalists, Ahmed Al-Najdi and Rabie Al-Sheikh. The sources added that all the detainees were arrested during their vacation trips to Egypt.

Al Jazeera Media Network has called repeatedly on the Egyptian authorities to "immediately release its detained journalists." It has also urged international organisations supporting press freedom to condemn the Egyptian regime's "arbitrary and unjust detention of journalists."

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has arrested thousands of political opponents over the past nine years, as well as journalists. The arrests have been condemned repeatedly by foreign governments and international human rights organisations.

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