August 14, 2018 - The International Federation of Journalists has renewed calls for the immediate release of Al-Jazeera producer Mahmoud Hussein to mark the 600th day of his ongoing detention in Egypt.
Hussein, an Egyptian journalist, was arrested on 23 December in Cairo while he was on vacation with his family, accused of “disturbing public security and spreading false news”. He has since been held in an unknown place and his detention has been continuously renewed by Egyptian authorities without trial or any official charge.
His arrest has been condemned by international rights groups and media freedom organizations, including the United Nations.
Egypt is one of the most prolific countries for jailing journalists for carrying out their professional work. In 2017 there were thought to be 20 journalists behind bars in Egypt, including photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, alias "Shawkan” and freelancer Ismail Alexandrani, jailed for 10 years in May. Dozens of journalists were arrested in the run-up to the 2018 Presidential elections. Many remain in jail without charge.
Egyptian national security prosecutors also prolonged the detention of at least five journalists in July, accusing them of belonging to a banned organization and spreading false news, according to Egypt's Journalists' Syndicate.
Al Jazeera said that its "journalists and correspondents have been a target of Egyptian authorities since 2013, many faced trumped-up charges, imprisonment, ill-treatment, denied the benefit of fair trial and sentenced in absentia to imprisonment and the death penalty."
IFJ President Philippe Leruth, who wrote to Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi urging the release of all journalists jailed in the country, said: "The detention of Mahmoud is one of the many cases of the authorities abusing their legal power to suffocate the media in Egypt. We continue to vigorously oppose such violations of media freedom and journalists' rights, and we will not stop pressuring related authorities until Mahmoud is set free."
On 23rd May 2019 , an Egyptian court ordered the release of Mahmoud Hussain after nearly two and a half years of detention.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries