Egypt Releases Final Al Jazeera Journalists Previously Detained

Egypt Releases Final Al Jazeera Journalists Previously Detained
Journalist Mahmoud Hussein embraces with his daughter after being released by Egyptian authorities after four years in detention on accusations of publishing false news, in Abou Al Nomros, in Giza, Egypt February 6, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RC27NL925UXS

Egypt Releases Final Al Jazeera Journalists Previously Detained

Egypt has released the final two Al Jazeera journalists who were detained in the country, marking a significant development following an improvement in relations with Qatar, as reported by the Doha-based network on Friday.

Bahaa Eldin Ibrahim, one of the journalists, has returned home after regaining freedom, as confirmed by his wife, Mona Gamal Eldin. Additionally, the head of Egypt’s journalism syndicate shared a photo on Facebook showing the second journalist, Rabie el-Sheikh, at his residence.

The backdrop to this release traces back to 2017 when Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, initiated a boycott of Qatar, alleging its support for terrorism—a charge Qatar vehemently denied. However, an agreement to resolve the dispute was reached in early 2021, paving the way for the rapid restoration of relations between Qatar and Egypt.

The recent release of Ibrahim and Sheikh follows the freeing of other Al Jazeera journalists, including Hisham Abdelaziz in May 2023 and Ahmed Al Nagdy in September 2022. Mona Gamal Eldin, speaking to Reuters, revealed that she was informed of her husband’s impending release on Wednesday. She expressed her surprise at the decision, particularly considering that she hadn’t seen him since December 2018 and had last communicated with him on the day of his arrest in February 2020.

Reflecting on the ordeal, Gamal Eldin shared her persistent hope for her husband’s release, stating, “I prayed for his release every day and never lost hope.”

The liberation of the journalists marks a positive step towards reconciliation between Egypt and Qatar, signaling a thaw in tensions that had persisted for several years. It also brings relief to the families of those detained, who endured years of uncertainty and separation. As Egypt continues to navigate its foreign relations, the release of these journalists contributes to fostering a more constructive dialogue and cooperation between the involved parties.


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