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Video shows detained Al Jazeera journalist

Footage shows Abdullah Elshamy in dire health before being moved to "solitary confinement" from Egypt prison.

Last updated: 15 May 2014 10:30
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Footage of imprisoned Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah Elshamy has emerged showing him in dire health before he was moved out of a prison to an undisclosed location by the Egyptian authorities.

The leaked video shows the 26-year-old reporter in poor health prior to being abruptly moved from his prison cell last Monday to an undisclosed location. Elshamy has been on hunger strike for the last 114 days in protest against his imprisonment.

On their twitter account, Elshamy family said that he has been transferred to a solitary confinement in maximum security Scorpion unit in Tora prisons.

In the video which was filmed a week before he was moved, Elshamy reiterated that he was jailed for merely doing his job, saying: "I’m Al Jazeera Arabic’s news reporter. I have been detained since August 14 in Cairo while I was covering the dispersal of Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in. I was doing my job as a reporter and despite the authorities knowing this, I have been detained for 266 days without any charge and without committing any crime." 

RELATED: US Congress members: Free Al Jazeera staff

He also said that he had requested medical attention during his time in prison, stating that if anything were to happen to him, the Egyptian government would be to blame.

“I record this video after I have reached 106 days of my hunger strike to hold the Egyptian government, the Egyptian judiciary and the general prosecutor responsible," he said.

"I have requested several medical check-ups from independent sources and yet this help has not been provided."

Elshamy was moved from his cell on May 12 by the Egyptian authorities. They have not released any information regarding his whereabouts.

Health deteriorating

Prior to being moved, the reporter had described his prison conditions at a court hearing. Talking to reporters who were later removed from the court, Elshamy said he had been living in a 12 square metre cell with 15 others. He also said water was cut for up to 12 hours a day. 

Trial of Al Jazeera detained journalists to resume

While on hunger strike, Elshamy's health has been deteriorating rapidly with blood tests conducted on May 8 showing that he was suffering from acute anaemia, decreasing red blood cells and kidney dysfunction.

He has lost upwards of 35kg.

Commenting on the leaked footage, Jason Stern, Middle East and North Africa Research Associate of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said: "This video only underlines the urgent need to transfer Abdullah Elshamy to a hospital to ensure his safety as his health deteriorates further under his ongoing hunger strike.

"We reiterate our consistent demand that all 16 journalists imprisoned by the Egyptian regime, including Elshamy, should be released immediately."

An appeal against Elshamy’s detention will be heard in court on Thursday.

Elshamy is being held with around 700 people, including Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed. who were also arrested last year. 

An Al Jazeera spokesman said, "Abdullah needs urgent independent medical attention. The authorities should grant this and reveal where they are holding him."

Al Jazeera rejects all charges and accusations against its staff, and demands their immediate release.

Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called for the immediate release of Elshamy and the other Al Jazeera journalists, saying their continued detention underscores the urgency of reforming Egypt’s laws governing the media.

"Egyptian authorities should be addressing the serious problems that journalists report," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Instead, they are trying to silence the messenger, jailing journalists on the basis of laws that violate basic freedoms."

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Al Jazeera
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