Egyptian authorities have renewed the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein for the 16th consecutive time by a further 45 days.
Hussein has now spent more than 620 days in detention, which exceeds the legal period of pre-trial detention allowed in Egyptian law.
According to the criminal procedures law, authorities should have either released Hussein or referred him to a court by the 18-month mark, which was on June 21.
Hussein was detained on December 20, 2016, by Egyptian authorities upon his arrival in Cairo for an annual vacation to visit his family.
Five days after his initial arrest, Egypt’s interior ministry accused Hussein – an Egyptian national who was based in Qatar – of “disseminating false news and receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities in order to defame the state’s reputation”.
Since then he has been kept in solitary confinement, denied his legal rights, and has yet to be formally charged.
Al Jazeera has condemned the repeated renewals of his imprisonment, denies all allegations against Hussein, and demands his immediate and unconditional release.
“The Egyptian authorities did not listen to the pleas of his daughter Zahra, who described the suffering his family faces, waiting in the long queues at the prison, in the harsh cold and under the hot sun, and how they may only meet him with permission”, Ahmad al-Yafei, Al Jazeera Arabic’s managing director said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Today, I am sending a message to Zahra Mahmoud Hussein, that I personally and all of her father’s colleagues and free journalists around the world will not rest until Mahmoud Hussein is free, he and all the journalists who pay for the truth with their lives and freedom.
“Al Jazeera Media Network will spare no effort to that end and in the never-ending pursuit of that goal.”
In February, the United Nations called Hussein’s jailing “arbitrary detention”, saying the “appropriate remedy would be to release Mr Hussein immediately”.
The International Press Institute has also called on Egypt to immediately release Hussein and other journalists in a social media campaign using the hashtag #PressEgypt.
Hussein’s next hearing is scheduled for October 8.