CAIRO – A court in Cairo ordered the release of a journalist at the Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera on Thursday.
Mahmoud Hussein was arrested more than two years ago on charges of spreading “false news,” according to his family.
His daughter Zahra Mahmoud Hussein said the court freed her father on precautionary measures that they have not yet learned the details.
“The court ruled his release on Tuesday, but the prosecutor’s office appealed the decision and today the release was confirmed,” she told EFE.
“I do not know if he will be released tonight or on Saturday, because tomorrow is a day off,” she added.
The 52-year-old news producer was arrested on Dec. 23, 2016 in Cairo, where he was on vacation from Qatar, where he lived and worked at the time.
He has been confined since then in Egypt’s Tora Prison, under a preventive detention order that has been renewed despite continuous appeals from his legal defense.
Hussein began working for Al-Jazeera in 2010 as a correspondent in Cairo, a position he held until the closure of the Egyptian office by government order in 2013, shortly after the president at the time Mohamed Morsi was ousted.
After the closure of the Al-Jazeera office in Egypt, where the channel remains censored, he spent a year without work, but then worked as a correspondent for media abroad, and later returned to the Qatari channel, at its headquarters in Doha.
Egypt cut diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017 for its support to the Muslim Brotherhood and for sponsoring terrorist groups, accusations that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates also made, and that has Doha rejected.
One of the main demands of these four Arab countries is that Qatar closes the Al-Jazeera channel.
Hussein is not the only journalist from the media outlet to be arrested in Egypt, three other Al-Jazeera journalists were detained in December 2013 and sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison for the same accusation.
They were subsequently released in 2016.