Egypt’s Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) has decided to release Ahmed al-Najdi, an Al Jazeera journalist who has been detained since August 2020, according to his lawyer Samir al-Bagoury.
Al-Najdi is a journalist with Al Jazeera Mubasher, the live TV unit of the Qatar-based network.
Al Jazeera Media Network has previously called on Egyptian authorities to release al-Najdi and three of his colleagues: Hisham Abdel Aziz, Bahauddin Ibrahim and Rabie el-Sheikh, who were being held in detention “without trial or charge”.
Aziz was arrested in June 2019, Ibrahim in February 2020, and Al Sheikh in August 2021, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). They are accused of “membership of a banned group” and “spreading false information”.
Tariq el-Awady, member of the presidential pardon committee in Egypt, wrote on Twitter account that he welcomed “the Egyptian Public Prosecution’s decision to release the Al Jazeera journalists who are being held in pretrial detention”. He did not provide further details.
ارحب بقرار النيابة العامة المصرية باخلاء سبيل صحفي الجزيرة المحبوسين احتياطيا .
— طارق العوضى المحامى (@tarekelawady2) September 14, 2022
The news comes as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi concluded a two-day visit to Qatar on Wednesday, where he met the Gulf state’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The visit followed a trip by Sheikh Tamim to Egypt in June, and suggests warming ties between the two countries.
It was el-Sisi’s first visit to the Gulf nation since he became Egypt’s president in 2014 following a military coup.