Egyptian authorities arrest Al Jazeera journalist during family visit
Courtesy: Al Jazeera

An Al Jazeera producer has been arrested during a visit with his family in Egypt, the Doha-based network said in a statement.

Mahmoud Hussein who has lived and worked in Doha since the channel’s operations were shut down in Egypt was arrested from his Cairo home on Friday. Two of his brothers were also arrested from their homes.

Al Jazeera also said that the Hussein’s whereabouts remain unknown and holds Egyptian authorities responsible for his safety.

The news producer was detained for 15 hours in Cairo International Airport upon his arrival on Tuesday.

Sada al-Balad quoted a security source who said that the Egyptian prosecution ordered his arrest on charges of belonging to a banned organization and seeking to overthrow the regime. The source speculated that his two brothers will be released soon. Another source told Al-Bawaba news website that the reason for his arrest was that he conducted “inflammatory” film interviews over the past few days without the requisite permits.

Yasser Abuhilala, managing director of Al Jazeera news, however, asserted that Hussein was in Egypt to visit his family, and not for work purposes.

Egyptian authorities detained around 20 people working for Al Jazeera in December 2013, accusing all of them of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. Among these were journalists Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and the Australian Peter Greste, all of whom worked with Al Jazeera English. Greste was deported after spending 13 months in prison, while Fahmy and Mohamed were released by a presidential pardon after over 430 days in prison.

The channel’s Egypt reporter Abdallah al-Shamy was imprisoned for 10 months and was released after a long hunger strike.

Al Jazeera has been engaged in a standoff with Egyptian authorities since the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, for adopting an editorial policy supportive of the former president and the Muslim Brotherhood. In November, the channel aired a documentary The Soldiers: Story of conscription in the Egyptian Armed Forces, which detailed abuse conscripts faced and the poor quality of training.


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