Feb 6, 2021 - World

Egypt releases Al Jazeera journalist detained since 2016

Mahmoud Hussein (C), an Egyptian national and senior journalist for Qatar-based Al Jazeera Arabic, is embraced by a man upon his arrival at his family home in the Giza village of Zawyet Abu Musallam

Mahmoud Hussein is embraced by a man upon his arrival at his family home in the Giza village of Zawyet Abu Musallam, Egypt. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Egyptian authorities have released Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein after detaining him since December 2016, the network announced Saturday.

Why it matters: Egypt’s Ministry of Interior accused Hussein of defaming the government by disseminating false news while receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities, but never brought formal charges against him. Hussein and Al Jazeera repeatedly denied the allegations.

Context: Egyptian authorities have blocked its citizens from accessing Al Jazeera’s news website since 2017 after deeming it too critical of the government, per AP.

  • "There was no official comment by the Egyptian authorities on Hussein’s release on Saturday, which came a month after Egypt and Qatar restored ties following a Gulf summit held in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia," Al Jazeera noted.

What they're saying: Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera, said the release of Hussein was "a moment of truth and an inspiring milestone towards press freedom," according to the network.

  • "Al Jazeera Media Network welcomes the news of Mahmoud’s freedom and believes that no journalist should ever be subjected to what Mahmoud has suffered for the past four years for merely carrying out his profession."
  • "Today, we are pleased he is finally reunited with his family, after being robbed four years from his life and deprived of his fundamental rights. We wish Mahmoud a speedy recovery and hope he will be able to overcome this past ordeal and start a new chapter in his distinguished career."
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