Groups call for release of Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Hussein

Arrest of Mahmoud Hussein extends a long line of press freedom violations by Egypt, media freedom activists say.

Rights groups have condemned the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein in Egypt. 

Hussein, an Egyptian national, was on holiday visiting family when he was arrested on December 20.

According to Egypt’s Ministry of Interior, Hussein is accused of “incitement against state institutions and broadcasting false news with the aim of spreading chaos”.

After he was detained, security officials released a video of Hussein discrediting an Al Jazeera documentary. Al Jazeera believes the “confession” was made under duress.

Al Jazeera strongly denies all accusations against Hussein, who has worked at the network since 2011.

Hussein lives in the Qatari capital of Doha and regularly visits his family, who live in Egypt.

Here is what some media rights groups and individuals have said about Hussein’s unlawful detention. You can share your support for our journalist using the #JournalismIsNotACrime tag.

Reporters Without Borders

RSF condemns an Al Jazeera journalist’s arrest while visiting Egypt … The situation of journalists is becoming increasingly precarious in Egypt, which is ranked 158 out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index and is now one of the world’s biggest prisons for media personnel (after China, Eritrea and Iran).

Committee to Protect Journalists

Egyptian authorities must release Al Jazeera news producer Mahmoud Hussein immediately … In the past two years, three Al Jazeera Arabic journalists have been sentenced to death in absentia and three journalists from Al Jazeera English were sentenced to up to 10 years in jail in Egypt for “aiding a terrorist organisation”, spreading false news, and working without a licence … They were later released. Egypt has 25 journalists in jail in relation to their work, according to CPJ’s annual prison census.

Fadi Qadi, human rights commentator

The Egyptian authorities adopt a policy of retaliation and revenge against those who disagree with them or those who present facts that these authorities do not want people to know.

Sharif Mansour, CPJ Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator

This can be regarded as a continuation in the series of using Al Jazeera journalists to settle political disputes.

Philippe Leruth, International Federation of Journalists president

I don’t think it is just journalists, but also all the news organisations, which must unite to defend such cases.

Aidan White, Ethical Journalism Network director

This is a new incident in a long list of wrongful actions taken by Egyptian authorities. And I think if Egypt wants to calm the situation then it must stop acting this way.

Source: Al Jazeera