ISTANBUL

Various media outlets and human rights sources in Egypt and Qatar reported Thursday evening the release of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein by Egyptian authorities.

Hussein was detained in late 2016 after returning home to Egypt from Qatar.

Authorities accused him of “belonging to an outlawed group” and “propagating false news aimed at destabilizing the country.”

In separate tweets, Al Jazeera journalists Jamal and Sarah Raafat, journalist Hossam El-Shorbagy, and human rights activist Gamal Eid reported Hussein’s release.

Qatar Today said in a tweet, “the Egyptian authorities release Mahmoud Hussein, a journalist for Al Jazeera, after an administrative detention that lasted more than four years.”

In a Facebook statement, the Egyptian Observatory for Journalism and the Media said that the Cairo Criminal Court decided on Monday to release Hussein “with precautionary measures pending investigations.”

The Egyptian opposition news website, Darb party also confirmed his release.

Cairo, Al Jazeera, or Hussein’s family has not yet commented on the reports.

Al Jazeera was officially banned in Egypt following a 2013 military coup against Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first-ever democratically elected president.

Hussain’s release comes almost a month after a deal to end the three-year Qatar blockade by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE.

*Ibrahim Mukhtar contributed to this report from Ankara

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