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Update: Prosecution challenges release of researcher and journalist Ismail Alexandrani

The State Security Prosecution has appealed all release orders issued by the North Cairo Criminal Court on Sunday, including the order to release researcher and journalist Ismail Alexandrani.

According to lawyer Mokhtar Mounir, who is representing others who were also ordered to be released, the fate of the prosecution’s appeal will become clear on Monday, when, if it is accepted, the specific appeals circuit will be determined, with the date of appeal hearings being then decided upon on Tuesday. However, if the appeal is denied, the release orders will proceed.

The criminal court ordered Alexandrani to be released on Sunday, pending completion of investigation into charges leveled against him, which include joining and supporting a terrorist organization and spreading false news to disturb public security and harm public interests, according to his lawyer Mohamed Eissa.

The journalist and researcher was arrested in late November 2015 upon his arrival at Hurghada International Airport from Berlin. Preceding his arrest, he had written articles critical of the Egyptian government in regional newspapers, including the Lebanon-based As-Safir Arabic and Al-Modon.

He returned to Egypt due to family circumstances, according to his friends, having flown from Turkey – where he had been living – via Berlin to avoid stringent screening procedures on flights arriving from the country where several of Egypt’s opposition figures have relocated.

Alexandrani moved to the United States in February 2015 to accept the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship. He moved to Turkey in July at the conclusion of the fellowship.

Several local and International rights organizations have condemned his arrest and prolonged pretrial detention, including Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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