Al Jazeera producer arrested by Egyptian government


CAIRO, Dec. 24 (UPI) — Egyptian officials detained a producer for Arab news network Al Jazeera accusing him of being a member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, officials said.

Mahmoud Hussein, who is Egyptian but moved to Qatar where Al Jazeera is based after the network closed its Cairo bureau, was detained at the airport when he arrived home for a vacation stay. Network officials said he was questioned for 15 hours on Tuesday, then released.

On Friday, the network said Egyptian officials raided homes of two of Hussein’s brothers and held them for questioning. Hussein’s whereabouts are not known, according to Egypt Independent.

The network called for Hussein’s immediate release.

“Al Jazeera holds Egyptian authorities responsible for the safety of Hussein and is calling for his immediate release,” the network said in a statement.

Al Jazeera said the Egyptian Interior Ministry was not available to comment on Hussein’s arrest.

Egyptian officials have long accused Al Jazeera of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. The government shut down an Egypt-focused affiliate channel of Al Jazeera from broadcasting in the country and the network closed its Cairo bureau in 2013, the same year mass protests succeeded in ousting former President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hussein’s arrest is not the first time an Al Jazeera journalist has been jailed in Egypt. Three others were jailed for more than a year on similar charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. They were sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted, but have since been released.

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