Cairo - Egypt detained an Al-Jazeera journalist on Monday after she was sentenced to six months in jail in May over a film that highlighted torture in Egyptian police stations, a security source said.

"Howayda Taha has been arrested. She is currently being questioned," the source said, without elaborating.

In a statement, eight Egyptian human rights groups and non-governmental organisations said Taha had been arrested while working on a new film, this time about farm labourers.

"While she was filming, police detained her and her team," the statement said calling for her immediate release.

Taha was sentenced in absentia in May to six months in jail and fined 20 000 Egyptian pounds (about R50 000) for working on a documentary highlighting torture in police stations, a decision that was widely criticised by human rights groups.

The Egyptian journalist has appealed against the sentence. The appeals court is due to deliver its ruling on February 11.