Today, October 23, 2020, marks the 1400th day that Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein spent in prison under arbitrary and illegal detention by the Egyptian authorities, without trial or conviction; after being detained on December 23, 2016, while on vacation with his family.
Commenting on Mahmoud Hussein’s incarceration, Dr. Mostefa Souag, the Acting Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network said, “Mahmoud’s detention, which is in grave violation of both Egyptian and international law, is deplorable. It must come to an end”.
Dr. Souag further added: “With the high risk of transmission of COVID-19 in crowded prison conditions, we call upon the Egyptian Authority to free all detained journalists and urge the international community to pressure Egypt and all governments to reaffirm the values of press freedom.”
Egypt thus far continues to be one of the leading violators of press freedom. Moreover, even under Egyptian law it is supposedly illegal to hold an individual without charge for more than two years. Previously, Egyptian authorities eluded the law by releasing our colleague Mahmoud on the two-year mark and only to re-arrest him on an additional fictitious charge.
Al Jazeera condemns the unlawful detention and refutes all charges against Mahmoud, and calls on the international community, media professionals, and human rights advocates to raise awareness and demand the immediate release of Mahmoud Hussein and all other journalists imprisoned around the world.
At Al Jazeera we stand in solidarity with all our colleagues in the media. We demand that no journalist should be intimidated, persecuted or imprisoned for carrying out their duty; journalism is not a crime.
The safety of journalists should be addressed as a global priority, and press freedom should not be regarded as a luxury but rather as a fundamental right.