Another 45 days have been added to the “arbitrary” detention of Al Jazeera’s Qatar correspondent Hussein Mahmoud since he was arrested in Cairo in 2016, the publication reports.
After 502 days in jail, an Egyptian court ruled to detain the international journalist an additional month and a half for allegedly “supporting terrorism" through fake news.
Returning to Cairo for his annual family vacation on December 20, 2016, national police apprehended the journalist claiming Mahmoud was receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities in order to “disseminate false news” with intention of spreading chaos and incitement against state institutions.
He was thrown into solitary confinement and denied his legal rights. During the year and a half in detention, the 51-year-old political journalist has suffered a broken arm and psychological harm, his family members report.
Despite these allegations, the prisoner has yet to be charged and the Egyptian judiciaries have fallen under criticism by international organizations such as the United Nations, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters without Borders, and the International Press Institute.
Various press organizations have rallied international support via social media, popularizing the hashtag “#PressEgypt”, sharing the journalist’s story and calling for bilateral pressure from intergovernmental institutions.
"He did his job objectively. He always maintained balance and professionalism in his reportage," said Al Jazeera reporter Mohammad Krichen, noting his colleague’s extensive 30 plus years experience.
Earlier this year, the United Nations denounced Hussein’s detention, calling it “arbitrary” and demanding the state “release Mr. Hussein immediately.”
"Hussein's arbitrary detention is far from an isolated case; the Egyptian authorities' tactic of using indefinite pre-trial detention to restrain those who dare to act independently is a cornerstone of its repression of the press, civil society, and protesters," the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated in a February report.
According to Egyptian law, an individual may only be detained for interrogation for a maximum of two years.