No formal charges. No trial. No conviction. Yet this Monday, September 16, jailed Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein will complete 1,000 days behind bars in Egypt.
The Qatar-based Egyptian national is among three dozen journalists arbitrarily detained by the government of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, whose country is among the world’s biggest prisons for journalists.
For over two-and-a-half years now, Hussein’s detention in Cairo’s notorious Tora prison has been repeatedly and illegally extended by the government, which has accused him of broadcasting “fake news” and “defaming” state institutions.
As no charges were ever formally brought against him, his pre-trial detention period is now in violation of the 730 permitted under the Egyptian penal code, and in clear breach of international law.
During his time in jail, Hussein has been held for long periods in solitary confinement, forced to share cells with convicted murderers, and systematically denied his legal rights. Hussein was deniedproper medical treatment in prison when he broke his arm in 2017.
His family and colleagues say he is suffering both physically and psychologically and has had to wait long periods for medical treatment. He has also been subjected to a smear campaign in Egyptian media portraying him as a foreign spy and a terrorist.
The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded in January 2018 that the conditions of his imprisonment amounted to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.