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Egypt frees Al Jazeera journalist after four years in detention


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Egypt frees Al Jazeera journalist after four years in detention

By Mahmoud Mourad

 

2021-02-06T191308Z_1_LYNXMPEH150IM_RTROPTP_4_GULF-QATAR-EGYPT.JPG

Journalist Mahmoud Hussein gestures after being released by Egyptian authorities after four years in detention on accusations of publishing false news, in Abou Al Nomros, in Giza, Egypt February 6, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

 

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian authorities on Saturday released a journalist working for Qatar's Al Jazeera television network who was held in pre-trial detention for more than four years, his brother and a lawyer told Reuters.

 

Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian detained in December 2016‮ ‬after arriving in Cairo from Doha on vacation, was held on charges of spreading false news, joining a banned group and receiving foreign funds.

 

He was released after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed in January to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar, severed in 2017 over allegations that Qatar supported terrorism, a charge Doha denies.

 

A Cairo court ordered Hussein's release with "precautionary measures", pending investigations on Feb. 1, his brother, Nageh Hussein, and lawyer Taher Abou al-Nasr told Reuters.

 

Abou al-Nasr said prosecutors had not appealed against the decision, as they had against a similar decision in 2019.

 

It was not immediately clear what the release conditions were but Nageh Hussein said his brother may have to spend several hours a week in a police station.

 

Al Jazeera Media Network welcomed the news.

 

"No journalist should ever be subjected to what Mahmoud has suffered for the past four years for merely carrying out his profession," the TV network said in a statement on its website.

 

A video posted by his brother on Facebook showed relatives and neighbours receiving him with hugs, chants and drums beating in his village near Cairo.

 

Egypt freed three Al Jazeera journalists, an Australian, an Egyptian-Canadian and an Egyptian, in 2015 after more than one year in detention pending trial.

 

The Committee to Protect Journalists has accused Egypt of putting journalists behind bars to muzzle dissent, saying that 27 were in prison as of late 2020.

 

Egyptian authorities say legal action has only been taken against those who break the law.

 

(Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Ros Russell)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-02-07
 

 

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I think they are being released as side deal now that the Saudi Arabia-Qatar thing is mediated.

 

http://Saudi Arabia and Qatar agree to reopen airspace and maritime borders

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/7/closing-statement-of-41st-gulf-cooperation-council

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/qatar-saudi-arabia-gulf-arab-b1782751.html

 

44 minutes ago, Proboscis said:

Held for four years with no charge. No the authorities want to do further investigation?

 

The Egyptian authorities should be ashamed of themselves. Many Egyptians are ashamed of them!

 

I don't know if many Egyptians are 'ashamed' of their regime because of this specific case. Such things are not uncommon there. Don't think they were much different during the previous management's reign. While the army might not be popular with everyone, a significant portion of the populace would still choose it if the alternative was an Islamic movement of one sort or another. Qatar (and by proxy, it's Al-Jazeera media outlets) are often seen as associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

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On 2/7/2021 at 9:19 PM, Morch said:

I think they are being released as side deal now that the Saudi Arabia-Qatar thing is mediated.

 

http://Saudi Arabia and Qatar agree to reopen airspace and maritime borders

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/7/closing-statement-of-41st-gulf-cooperation-council

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/qatar-saudi-arabia-gulf-arab-b1782751.html

 

 

I don't know if many Egyptians are 'ashamed' of their regime because of this specific case. Such things are not uncommon there. Don't think they were much different during the previous management's reign. While the army might not be popular with everyone, a significant portion of the populace would still choose it if the alternative was an Islamic movement of one sort or another. Qatar (and by proxy, it's Al-Jazeera media outlets) are often seen as associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

But the Muslim Brotherhood was voted into office in an election so there must have been some support for that group in the country.

 

Of course, there is a significant portion of the population but a minority that would be virulently against it. But given that the country has been effectively purged of any element of Muslim Brotherhood and the thought that they could remain as some sort of threat is now laughable, I think that only the most fragile of egos would support the hounding of an individual because of this connection with his employer.

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50 minutes ago, Proboscis said:

But the Muslim Brotherhood was voted into office in an election so there must have been some support for that group in the country.

 

Of course, there is a significant portion of the population but a minority that would be virulently against it. But given that the country has been effectively purged of any element of Muslim Brotherhood and the thought that they could remain as some sort of threat is now laughable, I think that only the most fragile of egos would support the hounding of an individual because of this connection with his employer.

 

Morsi won the elections as he toned down the religious message some prior, thus securing a sizeable portion of the secular, younger crowd. So yes, there is support for the Muslim Brotherhood, or religious candidates etc., but it's not, I think, a majority.

 

The country still sees Islamist insurrection and terrorist attacks, so not quite gone. And, of course, if allowed to return to political activity, they'll resurface.

 

It's not that Egyptians were in love with Sisi, but rather that ultimately, they were more fearful of the alternative.

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4 hours ago, Morch said:

 

Morsi won the elections as he toned down the religious message some prior, thus securing a sizeable portion of the secular, younger crowd. So yes, there is support for the Muslim Brotherhood, or religious candidates etc., but it's not, I think, a majority.

 

The country still sees Islamist insurrection and terrorist attacks, so not quite gone. And, of course, if allowed to return to political activity, they'll resurface.

 

It's not that Egyptians were in love with Sisi, but rather that ultimately, they were more fearful of the alternative.

How do we know what Egyptians wanted? It wasn't as though they had a say in his overthrow.  And unlike developed and/or well governed nation, the Egyptian military controls much of the economy. And if a majority did disapprove of Morsi, it seems quite clear that the Egyptian military had a very strong hand in it.

 As the NY Times noted, as soon as Morsi was overthrown, supply scarcities suddenly disappeared.

 

Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi

"The streets seethe with protests and government ministers are on the run or in jail, but since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, life has somehow gotten better for many people across Egypt: Gas lines have disappeared, power cuts have stopped and the police have returned to the street.

The apparently miraculous end to the crippling energy shortages, and the re-emergence of the police, seems to show that the legions of personnel left in place after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 played a significant role — intentionally or not — in undermining the overall quality of life under the Islamist administration of Mr. Morsi."

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/world/middleeast/improvements-in-egypt-suggest-a-campaign-that-undermined-morsi.html

 

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1 hour ago, placeholder said:

How do we know what Egyptians wanted? It wasn't as though they had a say in his overthrow.  And unlike developed and/or well governed nation, the Egyptian military controls much of the economy. And if a majority did disapprove of Morsi, it seems quite clear that the Egyptian military had a very strong hand in it.

 As the NY Times noted, as soon as Morsi was overthrown, supply scarcities suddenly disappeared.

 

Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi

"The streets seethe with protests and government ministers are on the run or in jail, but since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, life has somehow gotten better for many people across Egypt: Gas lines have disappeared, power cuts have stopped and the police have returned to the street.

The apparently miraculous end to the crippling energy shortages, and the re-emergence of the police, seems to show that the legions of personnel left in place after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 played a significant role — intentionally or not — in undermining the overall quality of life under the Islamist administration of Mr. Morsi."

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/world/middleeast/improvements-in-egypt-suggest-a-campaign-that-undermined-morsi.html

 

 

Saying the the Egyptian army controls the economy is true. And certainly, they weren't making things easier for Morsi. Was it a deciding factor or came on top of other issues? I don't know if this can be fully determined.

 

Morsi won about 25% of the votes on the first round, managing 51% at the run-off against someone who was seen as a throwback to Mubarak's regime. There were long months of protests against Morsi's rule raising several issues. I guess some could claim the army masterminded all of that, but probably more likely, just capitalizing on public sentiment, perhaps nudging it along at times.

 

I think it's safe to say that Morsi did not have a solid majority, even if his electoral base was significant.

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4 hours ago, Morch said:

 

Saying the the Egyptian army controls the economy is true. And certainly, they weren't making things easier for Morsi. Was it a deciding factor or came on top of other issues? I don't know if this can be fully determined.

 

Morsi won about 25% of the votes on the first round, managing 51% at the run-off against someone who was seen as a throwback to Mubarak's regime. There were long months of protests against Morsi's rule raising several issues. I guess some could claim the army masterminded all of that, but probably more likely, just capitalizing on public sentiment, perhaps nudging it along at times.

 

I think it's safe to say that Morsi did not have a solid majority, even if his electoral base was significant.

Crippling the economy and disappearing the police are not just nudges. Especially in an economy where the majority are barely getting by even when times are good.

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12 hours ago, placeholder said:

Crippling the economy and disappearing the police are not just nudges. Especially in an economy where the majority are barely getting by even when times are good.

 

I could be wrong, but as far as I know, the Egyptian Police is not under the army's control. Some of the public outrage, at the time, was vented against the police, for the way protests were handled.

 

Regardless, I think that the election results, by themselves, do not support the notion that Morsi had, in fact, much of a majority as popular support goes.

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I would not spend a euro to travel to that country with its backward leaders. Even if they would pay for fare, 5 star hotel accommodation for a month. They can shove their pyramids up their #^*ss.

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Egypt finally releases this reporter. Saudi Arabia released woman who was in prison for thinking women should be allowed to drive last week.

I wonder if any of this might have to do with a president of US who thinks human rights are important, unlike Mr. Trump

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On 2/14/2021 at 10:04 PM, Emdog said:

Egypt finally releases this reporter. Saudi Arabia released woman who was in prison for thinking women should be allowed to drive last week.

I wonder if any of this might have to do with a president of US who thinks human rights are important, unlike Mr. Trump

 

That, and things between Saudi Arabia and Qatar getting back on track. Egypt was pretty much following Saudi Arabia's lead on this episode.

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