The family and lawyer of Abdullah Elshamy have demanded immediate access to the detained Al Jazeera Arabic journalist after pictures of him allegedly breaking his hunger strike while in Egyptian custody appeared on Facebook.

The images, which appeared on a page affiliated with Egyptian police, show Elshamy sitting on the floor of what appears to be a prison cell eating fruits and drinking milk.

A spokesman for Al Jazeera said that Elshamy had told family members two days earlier that he would not break his hunger strike and that the Doha-based network was "extremely concerned about the pressures that may have been brought to bear on him".

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The correspondent, who was arrested by Egyptian authorities in August last year, has been kept in solitary confinement and has complained of attempts by prison guards to forcefeed him.

A video smuggled from prison earlier in May showed Elshamy in poor health and pleading for medical help.

Al Jazeera had called on the Egyptian government to allow the journalist to recieve independent medical attention and to grant him visits from international human rights organisations.

The correspondent is one of four Al Jazeera journalists being held by Egypt.

Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohammed Fahmy from the network's English channel have been held since December last year. They are charged with spreading false news and working with a banned organisation.

Al Jazeera denies all the charges and accusations against its staff and demands their release.

Source: Al Jazeera