Jazeera: Pro­ducer held on ‘fab­ri­cated charges’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

DUBAI: Qatar-based satel­lite news channel AlJazeera ac­cused Egypt yes­ter­day of de­tain­ing one of its pro­duc­ers on “fab­ri­cated charges,” its lat­est news­room em­ployee to be en­tan­gled in their bit­ter dis­pute. The broad­caster is­sued a state­ment de­scrib­ing the al­le­ga­tions levied by Egypt’s Interior Ministry against Mah­moud Hus­sein as con­tain­ing “an alarm­ing num­ber of false facts and al­le­ga­tions”.

Egypt said Sun­day it de­tained Hus­sein at a home in Cairo. It said he was in­structed by his Doha-based em­ployer to pub­lish “false ru­mors” about the coun­try.

Al-Jazeera said Hus­sein didn’t work as a “cor­re­spon­dent su­per­vi­sor as alleged”, but as a pro­ducer for its Ara­bic-lan­guage channel. “Mah­moud went to Egypt to visit his fam­ily dur­ing his va­ca­tion with full con­fi­dence in him­self, his pro­fes­sion and his in­tegrity,” the broad­caster said. It’s un­clear if Hus­sein has a lawyer. Egyp­tian of­fi­cials have said he’ll be held for 15 days pend­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. This is the lat­est ar­rest by Egypt tar­get­ing the state-funded broad­caster, whose cov­er­age in the years af­ter the coun­try’s 2011 Arab Spring revo­lu­tion and 2013 mil­i­tary over­throw of elected Pres­i­dent Mo­hamed Morsi has drawn in­tense gov­ern­ment crit­i­cism.

Three Al-Jazeera English em­ploy­ees were con­victed and im­pris­oned in June 2014 over al­le­ga­tions of col­lab­o­rat­ing with the now­banned Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, a case that drew in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion. Qatar’s con­ser­va­tive rulers had strong ties to the Broth­er­hood, of which Morsi be­longed.

One of the jour­nal­ists, Aus­tralian Peter Greste, was de­ported from Egypt in Feb 2015. The other two, Cana­dian-Egyp­tian Mo­hammed Fahmy and Egyp­tian Ba­her Mo­hammed, re­ceived pres­i­den­tial par­dons in Septem­ber 2015. Al-Jazeera Ara­bic re­porter Ab­dul­lah El­shamy, who also was held for 10 months with­out charge, was later re­leased af­ter a hunger strike. Mean­while, two sep­a­rate Al-Jazeera em­ploy­ees were sen­tenced to death in ab­sen­tia this June for pass­ing se­cret state doc­u­ments to Qatar, re­new­ing ten­sions be­tween the two na­tions.

— AP

DOHA: In this file photo, a Qatari em­ployee of Al Jazeera Ara­bic lan­guage TV news channel walks past the logo of Al Jazeera.

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