(MENAFN- Gulf Times) A UN body has ruled the detention of an Al Jazeera journalist held by Egyptian authorities for more than one year as 'arbitrary.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also demanded the immediate release of Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian native who worked for Al Jazeera Arabic.
The 55-year old was arrested in December 2016 after travelling from Doha, where he was based, to Cairo to visit his family. OHCHR issued its report based on a petition submitted by the Washington, DC-based Robert F Kennedy Human Rights. 'Hussein's arbitrary detention is far from an isolated case; the Egyptian authorities' tactic of using indefinite pre-trial detention to restrain those who dare to act independently is a cornerstone of its repression of the press, civil society, and protesters, said the rights group, in a statement posted to its website.
'The [OHCHR] Working Group's decision in Hussein's case is an important step in holding the Egyptian government accountable for these widespread human rights violations.
Hussein was accused of 'incitement against state institutions and broadcasting false news with the aim of spreading chaos, allegations he, his lawyers and Al Jazeera strongly deny.
Hussein, who has been held in the notorious Tora maximum-security prison and suffers from physical and severe psychological duress, has not been officially charged.
The OHCHR report said that there is 'no legal basis in Egyptian law for Hussein's continued pre-trial detention.
Furthermore, authorities have 'failed to produce a single piece of evidence that could justify any of the charges informally brought against him.
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