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Al Jazeera reporter spends 100th day in Egyptian jail

News - Middle East

Qatar-based network calls for release of Mahmoud Hussein, who is being held in conditions that violate his human rights.

Thursday marks 100 days since Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein was arrested by Egyptian authorities after returning to his home country for a holiday.

Hussein is being held in conditions that violate his human rights. Recent footage of him outside an Egyptian court appeared to show he had lost weight due to the harsh conditions of his detention.

Hussein's daughter Zahra said earlier this month that the inhumane conditions he is being kept in have left her father suffering from shortness of breath, and under severe psychological stress.

An Egyptian who lives in Qatar, he was stopped, questioned and arrested by authorities on December 20 after arriving in Cairo.

The Al Jazeera Media Network has demanded that Egypt unconditionally release Hussein and condemned the continued renewal of his detention, which has been extended five times, with the last renewal order issued on March 18.

Several leading human rights and media organisations have also criticised his detention.

The International Press Institute (IPI) today renewed its call on Egypt to immediately free Hussein.

"Mr Hussein’s detention on dubious, apparently politically motivated charges is the latest in Egypt's long history of jailing journalists, which severely impacts upon the Egyptian public's right to hold its leaders and institutions accountable," Scott Griffen, IPI Director of Press Freedom Programmes, said.

"As Egypt has put forward no compelling evidence for the alleged crimes, Mr. Hussein must be released immediately and all charges against him dropped."

Griffen added: “Reports of poor treatment in detention are troubling and add to our concern for Mr. Hussein’s well-being and for his right to a fair trial.”

Made-up allegations

Hussein faces a fabricated allegation of "disseminating false news and receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities in order to defame the state's reputation."

Al Jazeera has rejected all the allegations against him and condemned those who forced him into false "confessions" made on video.

Hussein was held in solitary confinement for more than two months, during which time he was denied visits, including by his lawyers.

The Al Jazeera Media Network has said it holds the Egyptian authorities responsible for his safety and well-being.

It has also been heavily critical of a smear campaign against Hussein, which is being carried through local media outlets - a practice that violates international law.

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