Egypt's prosecutor orders the release of Al Jazeera journalist

CAIRO, May 23 (Reuters) - Egypt's prosecutor on Thursday ordered the release of a news producer for Qatar’s Al Jazeera television network held in pretrial detention for more than two years, his lawyer and a judicial source said.

Mahmoud Hussain, who was detained in 2016, was being held on charges of spreading false news, joining a banned group and receiving foreign funds, his lawyer Taher Abou al-Nasr said.

Al-Nasr said Hussain should be released within days.

Cairo accuses Qatar of supporting the Brotherhood, which was branded by Cairo as a terrorist group in 2013. The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful group. Qatar hosts some prominent Brotherhood figures but denies supporting hardline Islamists.

Rights groups accuse the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of a sweeping crackdown on dissent which they say is the worst ever for Egypt.

Since 2013 when Sisi took power, thousands of Islamist opponents, as well as scores of liberal activists and journalists, have been imprisoned by the authorities.

Sisi, who ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood after mass protests against his rule, denies that there are political prisoners in Egypt.

(Reporting by Haitham Ahmed and Mahmoud Mourad, writing by Amina Ismail, Editing by William Maclean)

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