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Egypt extends Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Hussein's jail term

Mahmoud Hussein's jail term extended by 45 days again as he approaches one year of detention on spurious charges.

Mahmoud Hussein

Egypt has extended Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein's imprisonment for another 45 days as the producer, who is in poor health, nears one year of incarceration on dubious charges.

Hussein was taken by Egyptian security officers on December 20 last year and accused of reporting "false news with the aim of creating chaos".

An Egyptian national, Hussein had returned to visit his family on holiday from Qatar - where he is based - when he was arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned.

Al Jazeera Media Network denies all allegations against Hussein and has demanded his immediate and unconditional release.

"Mahmoud has been renewed for another 45 days," Farah al-Muftah, Al Jazeera's acting executive director legal & general counsel, said in an email on Thursday.

Human rights and press freedom organisations have condemned Hussein's detention.

He is reportedly in ill health after breaking an arm months ago while in prison.

His family says he has not received proper medical attention.

Hussein is not the first Al Jazeera journalist to be targeted and imprisoned for lengthy periods by Egyptian authorities on spurious charges.

Egypt also imprisoned Al Jazeera English's Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy, and Peter Greste for allegedly spreading "false news" in 2013.

Mohamed and Fahmy spent 437 days in jail before being released. Greste spent more than a year in prison.

Al Jazeera Arabic reporter Abdullah Elshamy was imprisoned for 307 days after being arrested on August 14, 2013.

He was covering the deadly crackdown by security forces on the Rabaa al-Adawiya square protest in Cairo against the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

Ibrahim Helal, former editor-in-chief of Al Jazeera Arabic, was among six journalists sentenced to death in absentia in May 2016 by an Egyptian court for purportedly "endangering national security".

On Wednesday, the New York-based the Committee to Protect Journalists released a report showing that Egypt ranks third worldwide among nations jailing media workers - having locked up 20 in 2017.

In January 2016, Al Jazeera Media Network lodged a claim for damages against the Egyptian government, accusing it of harassing its journalists and damaging its office and equipment during repeated police raids.

Egypt is accused by Al Jazeera of systematically and deliberately targeting the network in the aftermath of the January 25, 2011, uprising that brought down the presidency of Hosni Mubarak.

Al Jazeera no longer reports from the country.


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