Egypt frees Al Jazeera journalist

Egyptian authorities on Saturday released the Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein after four years in pre-trial detention.

Hussein, an Egyptian national who had been based in Qatar's capital Doha, was arrested whilst on holiday in Cairo at the end of 2016.

Hussein was accused of spreading false news, joining a banned movement and receiving foreign funds.

Hussein's brother, Nageh, and lawyer Taher Abou al-Nasr said a court in Cairo had ordered his release with "precautionary measures".

While it was not clear what those will be, Nageh Hussein said his brother may have to spend several hours a week in a police station.

In a statement, Qatar's Al Jazeera television network welcomed the news of Hussein's release.

It said, "No journalist should ever be subjected to what Mahmoud has suffered for the past four years for merely carrying out his profession."

His release comes after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Doha last month.

Connections had been severed in 2017 over allegations that Qatar supported terrorism.

Doha has denied those charges.

Egypt has been accused by the Committee to Protect Journalists of putting journalists behind bars to stifle dissent.

It said 27 were in prison there as of late last year.

But Egyptian authorities say legal action has been taken only against those who break the law.