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Egypt extends detention of al-Jazeera journalist held without charge

Egypt has arrested and sentenced aa number of al-Jazeera journalists in recent years [AFP]

Date of publication: 22 April, 2018

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Egyptian authorities will hold al-Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein for a further 45 days after renewing his detention.

Authorities in Egypt on Saturday extended the detention of an al-Jazeera journalist who has been held for nearly 500 days without charge.

Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian citizen who was based in Qatar, will be held for another 45 days for further interrogation.

At the time of his arrest in December 2016, Egyptian authorities accused him of "disseminating false news and receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities in order to defame the state's reputation".

Al-Jazeera dismissed all acusations against Hussein and demanded his immediate release.

Hussein has reportedly been denied his legal rights and been held in solitary confinement. His family say that his physical and mental health has significantly deteriorated during his time in prison, where he has not had acess to proper care.

Since the overthrow of Egypt's first democratically-elected president in 2013, freedom of press has been further curtailed as part of attempts by the government to quell opposition.

In 2017, Egypt raked 161 out of 180 in Reporters Without Borders' press freedom index.

Hussein is one of a number of al-Jazeera journalists who have been arrested, detained and sentenced in absentia by Egyptian authorities, including Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy, and Peter Greste.

Former al-Jazeera Arabic editor-in-chief Ibrahim Helal, meanwhile, was sentenced to death in absentia in May 2016.

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