Al Jazeera journalist on hunger strike disappears

Besides Abdullah Elshamy, three of the station's English journalists were also arrested last year. They are currently on trial. (AFP)

Besides Abdullah Elshamy, three of the station's English journalists were also arrested last year. They are currently on trial. (AFP)

Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah Elshamy was moved from his cell on Monday, and nobody knows his whereabouts, the news organisation said. But the organisation was given a video Elshamy recorded before he vanished. 

In it, he said, “I was doing my job as a reporter and despite the authorities knowing this, I have been detained for 266 days without charge and without committing any crime.”

Al Jazeera said the footage showed him looking frail and emaciated, with sunken eyes.

In the video he said he had now been on 106 days of hunger strike without medical checkups from independent sources. Both he and his employer had requested that he receive them. “I haven’t also had any medical care here inside the prison and this is a record for the sake of documenting my status,” he said.

“If anything happens to me, either if my health fails totally or anything happens to my safety, I hold the Egyptian regime responsible for that.” 

Elshamy was arrested on August 14 while working for Al Jazeera Arabic in the Egyptian capital Cairo. He was not charged and began his hunger strike on January 21. An appeal against his detention would be heard on May 16, Al Jazeera said. 

Members of a ‘terrorist organisation’
Three of the station’s English journalists were also arrested last year. They are currently on trial. 

On Thursday, the three will have the eighth hearing of their trial. Like Elshamy, they have been charged with aiding members of a “terrorist organisation” and operating without proper documentation. 

The state prosecutor accused them of publishing lies and supplying money and equipment to Egyptian nationals who were allegedly members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Their first court appearance was on World Press Freedom Day. 

 
Sipho Kings

Sipho Kings

Sipho Kings is the person the Mail & Guardian sends to places when people’s environment is collapsing. This leads him from mine dumps to sewage flowing down streets – a hazardous task for his trusty pair of work shoes. Having followed his development-minded parents around Southern Africa his first port of call for reporting on the environment is people on the ground. When things go wrong – when harvests collapse and water dries up – they have limited resources to adapt, which people can never let politicians forget. For the rest of the time he tries to avoid the boggling extremes of corporations and environmental organisations, and rather looks for that fabled 'truth' thing. For Christmas he wants a global agreement where humanity accepts that sustainable development is the way forward. And maybe for all the vested interest to stop being so extreme. And world peace. And a sturdier pair of shoes. Read more from Sipho Kings

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