Health of Al Jazeera’s Elshamy is failing
The journalist has been on a hunger strike in an Egyptian prison for 110 days and a doctor says he could die in days.
Al Jazeera Arabic journalist, Abdullah Elshamy, who is detained in an Egyptian prison, has received the results of blood tests conducted at a private laboratory, proving that his health is failing.
The May 8 tests showed that he is suffering from acute anaemia, decreasing red blood cells and kidney dysfunction, which all pose a serious threat to his overall well-being.
Elshamy has been imprisoned in Egypt for 269 days and has been on a hunger strike for 110 days, losing a third of his body weight.
“He has started to have impaired liver and kidney function,” Dr Mohamed Ussama Al Homsi told Al Jazeera. “All of these can cause big problems for him. This means that his organs are in danger.”
Homsi reviewed the test results on May 8 and said Elshamy’s condition is life-threatening and he could “die within a few days”.
He added that the journalist’s hunger strike has gone beyond all records and he should stop immediately.
“He should be transferred to an intensive care unit,” Homsi said. “I’m worried about what his situation might be now.”
Elshamy sent a letter from prison on May 6, describing how guards tried to convince him to start eating.
A guard talked “about the importance of looking after my health, trying to be friendly by saying he would refer my case to the prosecutor and to the court as if that had not been done already,” Elshamy wrote.
‘Contesting the ill treatment’
Three Al Jazeera English journalists, Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, have also been incarcerated in Egypt’s Tora prison for 133 days.
On World Press Freedom Day, Fahmy commented on Elshamy’s hunger strike, saying that the “dozens of prisoners enduring weeks of genuine, life-threatening hunger strikes, are noble men who have no other way to contest the ill treatment they face in prison.”
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Journalists covering Elshamy’s court hearing on May 3 recorded him as saying that he had not seen a doctor or a lawyer since he was jailed.
Al Jazeera’s journalists stand accused of spreading false news and aligning with the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that the current Egyptian government considers to be a “terrorist” organisation.
The trial of Greste, Fahmy and Mohammed has been adjourned until May 15.
Al Jazeera strongly denies the accusations made against its staff and has called on the Egyptian authorities to free them immediately.