December 23, 2020 marks the 4th year that Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein spent in prison under arbitrary and illegal detention by the Egyptian authorities. Hussein remains detained without formal charges nor trial, making his detention period a violation of both Egyptian and International laws.
Mahmoud Hussein was arrested on December 23, 2016, whilst on a visit to his family for holiday. Since then, he has suffered, both physically and mentally, under the arbitrary imprisonment of the Egyptian authorities.
During his time in prison, Mahmoud Hussein’s detention has far surpassed the maximum period for pre-trial detention, making it a violation of both Egyptian and international law. Egyptian authorities eluded the law by releasing Mahmoud on the two-year mark and subsequently re-arresting him.
Dr. Mostefa Souag, the Acting Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network, stated in a comment regarding the unjustified detention of Mahmoud Hussein, “Mahmoud Hussein has spent 4 years under arbitrary detention; the repeated cycle of renewing his detention must come to an end and his release must be immediate. At Al Jazeera, we stand in solidarity with all our colleagues in the media. We believe that no journalist should be intimidated, persecuted or imprisoned for carrying out their duty. We believe in the fundamental truth that freedom of journalism is the very basic building block to uphold the values of democracy and human rights”.
This month, Mahmoud Hussein was ranked second in the One Free Press Coalition’s list of 10 most urgent cases of press freedom abuses around the world.
In addition, The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) honored Mahmoud as the recipient of its Percy Qoboza Award. This annual award honors the groundbreaking and often dangerous work done by foreign journalists.
According to a 2020 report by the Committee to Protest Journalists, Egyptian authorities, intensified their spree of arrests, charges, and indefinite renewals of pretrial detention, bringing the number of journalists in jail to 27, matching a record set in 2016.
Al Jazeera calls on all journalists, human rights advocates and people of conscience to stand with Mahmoud and other imprisoned journalists; to express their solidarity through all available means and demand their immediate freedom; allowing them to reunite with their families and loved ones at this critical juncture. We cannot and will not remain silent in the face of this abhorrent injustice that our colleagues remain to endure.
“Journalism is not a crime”