Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Hussein spends 600th day in Egyptian prison

Hussein has been jailed in Cairo without charge since December 2016 after returning from Qatar to visit his family.

It has been 600 days since Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein was arrested and jailed in Egypt without charge.

Egyptian authorities accused the Qatar-based news producer of broadcasting false news and receiving foreign funds to defame state institutions. He and Al Jazeera strongly deny the allegations, and the move to continue to hold him has drawn international criticism.

Hussein has been held for more than 18 months, which is the maximum period of detention permitted for an individual being investigated for a felony, according to article 143 of the Egyptian penal code. Authorities should have either released Hussein or referred him to court.

‘False news’

The Egyptian journalist was arrested on December 20, 2016, upon his arrival in Cairo while on annual vacation visiting his family.

Five days after his initial arrest, Egypt’s interior ministry accused Hussein of “disseminating false news and receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities in order to defame the state’s reputation”.

Since then, he has been put in solitary confinement. Hussein suffered a broken arm and has been refused proper medical treatment for his injury.

In February, the United Nations called his case one of “arbitrary detention”, saying the “appropriate remedy would be to release Mr Hussein immediately”.

Rights groups have reported an unparallelled crackdown on Egypt’s media in recent years since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seized power, and say it is getting worse.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 20 media workers are being held in Egyptian prisons – some as long as four years. 

Source: Al Jazeera