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RSF calls for release of Egyptian journalist Mahmoud Hussein Gomaa

An Al-Jazeera employee talks on the phone at the TV channel's bureau in Cairo, Egypt, 30 January 2011
An Al-Jazeera employee talks on the phone at the TV channel's bureau in Cairo, Egypt, 30 January 2011

MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/GettyImages

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 21 December 2018.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mahmoud Hussein Gomaa, an Egyptian journalist who completes his second year in provisional detention tomorrow, and for the withdrawal of all charges against him. Egyptian laws limits provisional detention to a maximum of two years.

Arrested on 23 December 2016 while visiting his family in Egypt, Gomaa worked in Doha for the Qatari TV broadcaster Al-Jazeera, the current Egyptian government's media bugbear. His provisional detention has been renewed repeatedly ever since.

He is being held on charges of inciting hatred, publishing false news and membership of a banned organization. These charges are only provisional because he has not been brought to trial. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regards his detention as arbitrary.

"Holding a journalist provisionally for two years amounts to giving him an arbitrary prison sentence," RSF said. "We call on the Egyptian authorities to release this journalist as there is no evidence for the charges brought against him."

With at least 38 professional and non-professional journalists currently held in connection with their reporting, independent journalism is dying in Egypt, which is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

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