Egypt to release Al Jazeera journalist detained more than two years ago after Al Sisi’s visit to Qatar

Authorities in Egypt have taken the decision to release a journalist from the Qatari television network Al Jazeera arrested in August 2020 for allegedly “belonging to an outlawed group” and “spreading false news”, in the framework of the first official visit to Qatar by Egyptian President Abdelfatá al Sisi.

Samir al Baguri, lawyer of the journalist, Ahmed al Najdi, stressed that the decision was taken by the State Security Prosecutor’s Office, as reported by Al Jazeera, which over the past two years has repeatedly called on the Egyptian government to release the reporter.

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For his part, Tariq el Auadi, a member of Egypt’s presidential pardons committee has said on his account on the social network Twitter that he applauds the decision to “release the Al Jazeera journalists who are detained pending trial”, without giving further details on the matter.

Al Jazeera has denounced that Al Najdi and three other journalists from the network–Hisham Abdelaziz, Bahaudin Ibrahim and Rabie el Shaykh–were being held without trial or charges. Abdelaziz was arrested in June 2019, while Ibrahim was arrested in February 2020 and Al SHeij was arrested in August 2021.

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The announcement has come after a two-day visit by Al Sisi to Qatar, where he met with the Qatari emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Zani, who made an official trip to Cairo in June, pointing to a rapprochement between the two countries. In fact, the visit is Al Sisi’s first since he came to power in 2014 following a military coup against the then president, the Islamist Mohamed Mursi.

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