Al Jazeera calls on Egypt to release its journalist

Al Jazeera News Network has called on the Egyptian authorities to release its journalist, Mahmoud Hussein, who had been arrested in Cairo on “fabricated charges”.

In a statement released on Sunday the network said: “Al Jazeera deems all accusations against Hussein, including those which might be added later to the current allegations, to be a result of practices which violate international norms and conventions, and which, unfortunately, prevail in Egypt as exposed by human rights organisations”.

The statement added: “Mahmoud Hussein works as a news producer at Al Jazeera, not a director of the correspondents’ department as the [Egyptian] statement claimed.”

About how the journalist was arrested, Al Jazeera said: “He traveled to his country [Egypt] to spend his holiday with his family. He was confident of himself and of his work and professionalism.”

Refuting the accusations of the Egyptian authorities, the statement also said: “If he was engaged in illegal activities, he would not have traveled to Egypt.”

Al Jazeera said it holds the Egyptian authorities for any harm caused to its journalist, stressing that it adopts a professional editorial policy free of any partiality and does not bear any hostility to anyone or state.

On its part, the Egyptian interior ministry claimed in a statement that it monitored illegal activities carried out by Al Jazeera in Egypt, which included incitement to sedition in the country through its media coverage, and hence arrested one of its operatives, Mahmoud Hussein.