Egyptian security forces are deployed outside the police institute near Cairo's Turah prison during the trial of detained Al-Jazeera journalists, on April 22, 2014
Egyptian security forces are deployed outside the police institute near Cairo's Turah prison during the trial of detained Al-Jazeera journalists, on April 22, 2014 © Mohamed el-Shahed - AFP/File
Egyptian security forces are deployed outside the police institute near Cairo's Turah prison during the trial of detained Al-Jazeera journalists, on April 22, 2014
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AFP
Last updated: May 15, 2014

Egypt to blame if health fails, says Al-Jazeera journalist

A jailed Al-Jazeera journalist who has been on hunger strike for over 100 days said he holds the Egyptian authorities responsible if his health fails, according to a video aired on Wednesday.

Abdullah Elshamy was arrested on August 14 when police broke up a sit-in of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, which led to clashes that killed hundreds.

Elshamy, who works for the Qatar-based network, has been on hunger strike since January 21 to protest his detention and has yet to face trial, the network said in a statement.

Al-Jazeera said Elshamy was "effectively missing" after he was moved from his prison cell on Monday morning.

In the footage apparently shot in his prison cell, a frail looking Elshamy clad in a white prison uniform said the video was recorded after "106 days of my hunger strike".

He said he had requested medical treatment from independent sources but had not received it.

"I haven't also had any medical care here inside the prison... Thus if anything happens to me, whatever it is, either my health fails totally or anything happens to my safety, I hold the Egyptian regime responsible for that," he said in a video aired on Al-Jazeera.

His brother Mosaab told AFP on Tuesday that Elshamy had been given a blood test last week but no doctor had checked his condition. His lawyer Shaaban Saeed confirmed the information.

Mosaab said his brother was at a "critical stage" and suffered from anaemia, the start of kidney failure, low blood pressure and hypoglycaemia.

"He can go into a coma if he doesn't take perfusions (drips) and if his blood sugar remains low... It is the start of the most dangerous period," he added.

A doctor who had seen a copy of Elshamy's blood report obtained by AFP said his condition was "not life threatening yet but could become if he continues with the hunger strike without any medical attention".

Mosaab said his brother has shed around 40 kilogrammes (88 pounds) since he began the hunger strike.

"The best thing of all they can do is release him and end this 9-month ordeal. Abdullah is a journalist and journalism is not a crime," Al-Jazeera said.

In the video, Elshamy said he was detained while "doing my job as a reporter" covering the dispersal of a pro-Morsi sit-in at Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on August 14.

Three other Al-Jazeera journalists, who work for the network's English-language channel, are on trial in Egypt for defamation and supporting Morsi's blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood.

The trial of Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, along with 17 other co-defendants, has sparked an international outcry. Its next hearing is on Thursday.

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