Egypt renews detention of Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Hussein

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An Egyptian court in Cairo on Tuesday renewed the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein for another 45 days.

Hussein was detained on December 20, 2016, by Egyptian authorities upon his arrival in Cairo while on annual vacation visiting his family.

Five days after his initial arrest, Egypt’s interior ministry accused Hussein, an Egyptian national who was based in Qatar, of “disseminating false news and receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities in order to defame the state’s reputation”.

Since then, he has been put in solitary confinement, denied his legal rights, and has yet to be formally charged.

Hussein, who has been in detention for 502 days, suffered a broken arm and has been refused proper medical treatment for his injury.

According to Egyptian law, the maximum time a person can be held for interrogation is two years.

If Hussein remains imprisoned, he will hit that threshold in December 2018.

Al Jazeera has condemned the repeated renewals of his detention, denies all allegations against Hussein, and demands his immediate and unconditional release.

Human rights and press freedom organisations have also denounced Hussein’s treatment, with his family saying the 51-year-old is suffering from poor physical and psychological health.

In February, the United Nations called Hussein’s case one of “arbitrary detention”, saying the “appropriate remedy would be to release Mr Hussein immediately”.

The International Press Institute has also called on Egypt to immediately release Hussein and other journalists in a social media campaign, using the hashtag #PressEgypt.

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