Sign up for weekly updates

Detained journalist on hunger strike in Egypt in grave need of medical attention

The health of detained Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Abdullah Al-Shamy is failing rapidly, and he is in critical condition
The health of detained Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Abdullah Al-Shamy is failing rapidly, and he is in critical condition

Photo from Abdullah Al-Shamy's Twitter account

Reporters Without Borders is extremely concerned about the fate of Abdullah Al-Shamy, an Al-Jazeera reporter who has been held since 14 August 2013 and who, according to his lawyer, was transferred to another location yesterday that is being kept secret.

Shamy's physical condition is very worrying because he has been on hunger strike for more than three and a half months. He stopped eating on 23 January in protest against his arbitrary detention and the fact that no formal charges have been brought against him since his arrest.

“We fear the worst following his transfer because Shamy is in more need of proper medical attention than ever,” said Reporters Without Borders research director Lucie Morillon. “We urge the authorities to tell his family and lawyer where he has been transferred. He must quickly be given appropriate medical treatment before being freed. The authorities are responsible for his life and state of health.”

Shamy's brother told Al-Masry Al-Youm: “The medical report attests to the fact that my brother's health has deteriorated considerably and does not allow him to be transferred to another prison (...) He needs to be transferred quickly to a hospital outside the prison.”

According to this report, by Dr. Mohamed Osama Al-Homsi, Shamy is suffering from chronic anaemia, a fall in the level of red corpuscles in his blood, and kidney failure, and “could die within a few days.”

Abdullah Al-Karyuni, a former member of the doctors' union, told Al-Jazeera: “The type of care that Abdullah Al-Shamy needs cannot be found in Egyptian prisons because they do not respect human rights.”

Shamy's wife, Jihad Khaled, has begun a hunger strike in support of her husband that has resulted in a marked deterioration in her own health.

Shamy's lawyer, Shaaban Saeed, told Agence France-Presse that he is accused of joining a “terrorist group” and spreading false news. “My client is paying the price for working for a channel that opposes the ruling regime,” he said.

On 3 May, a judge ordered Shamy held for another 45 days.

A total of 17 journalists, including four Al-Jazeera employees, are currently detained in Egypt.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Egypt: Free Illegally Jailed Journalist

    On May 12, 2014, the authorities transferred al-Shami from Tora Prison, just south of Cairo, to an undisclosed location, amid rising concerns that his health is deteriorating. On May 14, his brothers, Mosaab and Mohamed al-Shami, tweeted that Abdullah al-Shami was in solitary confinement in al-Aqrab (Scorpion) high security section of Tora prison, where they saw him.

  • Egypt: A chilling message and a case in uproar

    It took a nerve-wracking two days for Mosa'ab El Shamy to find his "missing" brother Abdullah El Shamy. In a second message posted on Twitter on Wednesday, he informed his online friends and fans that Abdullah had been moved to solitary confinement in Tora's high security "Scorpion Prison". Abdullah was being punished "for refusing to end his hunger strike and for attracting international attention to his plight," Mosa'ab said.

Latest Tweet:

"Protesters chant freedom, peace, justice," as demonstrations continue in Sudan, well into their 4th month:…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.