December 23, 2016 / 4:31 PM / 9 months ago

Egyptian police arrest Al Jazeera news producer

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian police arrested an Al Jazeera news producer on Friday over accusations of attempting to overthrow the country’s government and being a member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, three security sources said.

The Qatar-based broadcaster, which Egypt accuses of being a mouthpiece of the Brotherhood, said it did not know where Mahmoud Hussain was being held.

Hussain was questioned for more than 15 hours at Cairo airport on Tuesday after arriving for his annual vacation, the broadcaster said on its website. He is currently based in Doha but worked in Egypt before Al Jazeera closed its office there in 2013.

He was arrested at his Cairo home on Friday, Al Jazeera and the sources said.

Officials from the Interior Ministry were not immediately available for comment.

Egyptian authorities have over the past two years arrested several Al Jazeera reporters, raising concerns over media freedoms in the country.

In May, a Cairo court recommended the death penalty against two of them, charged in absentia with endangering national security by leaking state secrets to Qatar.

The Brotherhood is a Qatar-backed movement that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has cracked down on since an army takeover in 2013 stripped former president Mohammed Mursi - a prominent member of the group - of power following mass protests against his rule.

Thousands of Brotherhood supporters including Mursi are in jail and Egypt has designated the group, which says it is non-violent, a terrorist organisation.

Reporting by Amina Ismail; Writing by Asma Alsharif; editing by John Stonestreet

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