Al Jazeera’s Elshamy freed from Egypt prison
Reporter released after being held without charge for 307 days urges the release of other jailed journalists.
Al Jazeera Arabic reporter Abdullah Elshamy has been released from jail in Egypt after being held without charge for 10 months.
Elshamy was released from Cairo’s Scorpion prison on Tuesday, 307 days after being arrested on August, 14, 2013, while covering the dispersal of Rabaa Aladaweya sit-in in the city.
He had been jailed without charge for more than 10 months despite wide international calls for his release. He began a hunger strike protest in January and his release was ordered by the public prosecutor on Monday.
Elshamy was transferred to the First Nasr City police station from the high security Scorpion prison on Tuesday afternoon, before his release.
Outside the police station, a jubilant Elshamy thanked everyone who supported him during his imprisonment but also called for Egypt to release other journalists, including three who work for Al Jazeera’s English channel – Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy – and who have spent 171 days in jail.
|Elshamy with his wife Gehad Khaled after his release [EPA]|
“I have won. Everyone who is a freedom fighter or a journalist doing his work credibly and honestly has won,” Elshamy said.
“I missed my freedom, I missed my life, my life stopped on August 14 at 6pm when I was moved to a place I did not wish to be.
“It is important to mention that this is only the beginning. I am more determined to carry on this struggle than before.”
Al Jazeera’s lawyer Shaaban Saeed said: “The appeal which was accepted by the public prosecution was based on the fact that Abdullah was carrying out his duties as a correspondent for Al Jazeera at the time of his arrest.”
A spokesman for Al Jazeera said: “This is a relief rather than a cause for celebration. Abdullah has been through a terrible ordeal for over 10 months. He’ll want to spend time with his family and recuperate. When he’s ready, we look forward to seeing him back in action, doing the vital job of journalism that he so clearly loves.”
“We would like to thank all who supported Abdullah’s cause; millions on social media, international and humanitarian organisations, media outlets which covered the case professionally and public figures across the world who expressed their support to Abdullah on several levels, proving their strong belief in freedom of journalism and its role.”
Greste, Mohamed and Fahmy are still behind bars charged with aiding a banned organisation and reporting “false news”.
A verdict in their case is due on June 23. Al Jazeera strongly rejects the charges against them.
Fahmy, who is receiving treatment for a shoulder injury, said: “We are very confident we are going to be next.”
Al Jazeera stands by its reporting from Egypt. Click here to watch our reports from July to December 2013.