Freed Egypt journalist returns home

Mahmoud Hussein kisses a child upon his arrival at his family home in greater Cairo after four years in jail in Egypt
Mahmoud Hussein kisses a child upon his arrival at his family home in greater Cairo after four years in jail in Egypt - AFP
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Cairo (AFP)

Mahmoud Hussein, a journalist for Qatar's Al Jazeera, arrived at his home in greater Cairo Saturday after four years in an Egyptian jail, an AFP journalist reported, amid thawing relations between the countries.

The 54-year-old Egyptian national was released on Thursday from a Cairo prison, a security source and his daughter Azzahra Hussein confirmed to AFP, but bail conditions at a police station in southern Cairo were still being finalised.

"His father died before witnessing this moment, he was waiting for it for a long time," Hussein's mother told AFP before her son's arrival.

She was surrounded by throngs of relatives and supporters had set up colourful lights to celebrate Hussein's return.

"Even though there are bail conditions... Dad is out of the police station, thank God. Freedom to all those oppressed," his other daughter based in Paris, Aya Hussein, said on Twitter.

Hussein's release comes just over two weeks after Egypt and Qatar restored diplomatic ties, following a three-year Saudi-led freeze on relations with Doha, with a particular focus on Al Jazeera's coverage.

"Al Jazeera Media Network welcomes the news of Mahmoud's freedom, and believes that no journalist should ever be subjected to what Mahmoud has suffered for the past four years for merely carrying out his profession," the Doha-based network said in a statement Saturday.