The family of jailed Al Jazeera journalist must now wait until after Ramadan see their father.

Last week, Egyptian authorities promised to release imprisoned Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein after more than two years in captivity. But they have now sent him back to Cairo's feared Tora prison, just as his paperwork was being processed.

The move by the Egyptian authorities will be seen as a massive setback for Hussein.

The journalist’s family was waiting for him to be released when they learned late on Sunday that he would be returned to prison.

In a statement, the family said: "After spending a night at the police station, the family was surprised to learn that Mahmoud had been taken to the office of the prosecutor for state security."

It is believed that a new investigation has been opened by the Egyptian authorities against Hussein.

In prison without trial

Hussein has been imprisoned in administrative detention since December 2016. The father-of-nine has not been to court to hear or defend himself against the charges against him. Authorities have instead opted for indefinite detention.

Hussein was working as a news producer with Al Jazeera when he was arrested at Cairo airport as he was returning back to Egypt for a holiday. His passport was confiscated and after a series of interrogations, he was whisked away to prison.

The state security prosecutor had previously ordered Hussein’s detention on charges of “publishing false information”, “receiving foreign funding” and “belonging to a banned group”. Charges that the defendant categorically denies.

Hussein’s detention is believed to be for the work he has done for Al Jazeera, which the Egyptian government regards as a terrorist organisation in large part due to its coverage of the Arab Spring.

Qatar, which funds Al Jazeera, has faced diplomatic isolation from its Gulf neighbours, who cut ties with the state due to its support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its media outlets. In June 2017, Egypt followed its main financial backers in the Gulf and also cut off diplomatic ties with Doha.

Source: TRT World