Al-Jazeera journalist arrested in Egypt during holiday

Al-Jazeera journalist arrested in Egypt during holiday
2 min read
24 December, 2016
Egyptian authorities have arrested an al-Jazeera news producer over accusations of publishing false news and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement.
The accusations against Hussein are similar to those against three al-Jazeera journalists in 2013 [Anadolu]

Egypt has arrested a journalist with the Qatar-based al-Jazeera broadcaster, in the latest move against the network it accuses of supporting Islamist opposition.

Egyptian Mahmoud Hussein was arrested at his home on Friday, days after he returned to his country on vacation, police officials and al-Jazeera said.

He had been stopped and interrogated in Cairo airport for over 15 hours when he arrived on Tuesday, but was set free before police raided his house, security sources told The Associated Press news agency.

State security also stormed the homes of Hussein's two brothers and arrested them.

Hussein's whereabouts are yet to be known, al-Jazeera said.

"Al-Jazeera holds Egyptian authorities responsible for the safety of Hussein and is calling for his immediate release," the Qatar-based network said in a statement.

A prosecution official said Hussein is accused of incitement to violence and publishing false news and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Hussein, who lives in the capital Doha, used to work in Egypt before al-Jazeera closed its office there in 2013.

Last month, al-Jazeera released a controversial documentary about Egyptian conscripts claiming to be mistreated while serving their compulsory military service.

But the network's Managing Director Yasser Abu Hilala has ruled out the possibility that Hussein was arrested over the documentary film.

The accusations against Hussein are similar to those levelled against three al-Jazeera journalists who were arrested in 2013, months after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, sparking international condemnation.

Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste were accused of spreading "false news" during their coverage of the demonstrations that followed the ouster of Morsi, who was backed by Qatar.

After spending more than a year in prison, the three journalists were released and left the country.

Morsi's ouster unleashed a massive crackdown on his supporters and the blacklisting of his Muslim Brotherhood movement, which was banned and labelled a "terrorist organisation".

The broadcast of the Egypt-focused television channel al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, part of the network, was suspended in September 2014.