Egypt’s state news agency says the state prosecutor has ordered the arrest of an Al-Jazeera TV news producer for “fabricating reports” on the country’s internal situation with the aim of harming national security and sedition against the state.
MENA, quoting an Interior Ministry statement, said today State Security arrested Mahmoud Hussein Gomaa. No additional details were provided.
The channel issued a statement rubbishing the accusations made by the government of the country’s military dictator, which has been been brutal in suppressing media freedom.
“Al Jazeera deems all accusations against Hussein, including those which might be added later to the current allegations, to be a result of practices which violate international norms and conventions, and which, unfortunately prevail in Egypt as exposed by human rights organisations,” the network said in a statement.
Al Jazeera denied all charges, and said it was concerned over Hussein’s safety.
“[Hussein] is a news producer in the Al Jazeera Arabic newsroom and not a correspondent supervisor as alleged by the statement … [he] would not have travelled through the airport at Egypt if he was undertaking any illegal activities as alleged by the MOI statement,” the broadcaster said.
The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network carried the report on its own website Friday. The ministry’s statement is Egypt’s first confirmation of Gomaa’s arrest.
In September 2015, two Al-Jazeera English journalists received presidential pardons for their 3-year sentences for collaborating with the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group in a highly-publicized case widely condemned by rights groups.
Two separate Al-Jazeera employees were sentenced to death in abstentia in July for passing secret state documents to Qatar.