Al Jazeera: Life of jailed journalist at risk

2014-05-20 20:43
Al-Jazeera (File)

Al-Jazeera (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

London - Qatar-based satellite network Al Jazeera has written to world powers asking them to secure the release of one of its journalists jailed in Egypt, accusing the authorities in Cairo of endangering his life.

In a letter seen by Reuters, a lawyer acting for the pan-Arab network said the health of Abdullah Elshamy, one of four Al Jazeera reporters being held in Egypt, was "of the gravest possible concern and in need of immediate attention".

Elshamy, who has been on hunger strike since 21 January to protest against his detention, is being held in solitary confinement in dire conditions, the letter said.

"Mr Elshamy's situation is of grave concern; his health is deteriorating and the Egyptian authorities show no sign of providing appropriate medical care or of bringing an end to his entirely unwarranted and indefensible detention without charge," Cameron Doley, a lawyer acting for Al Jazeera, wrote.

"Time is of the essence."

Al Jazeera's intervention, designed to put pressure on former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ahead of a 26 - 27 May presidential election which he is expected to win, is likely to further sour already poor Qatari-Egyptian relations.

Elshamy, who is Egyptian, was arrested in Cairo in August last year while reporting on police dispersing supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, toppled the previous month by Sisi.

Qatar, a Gulf Arab monarchy that funds Al Jazeera, backs Morsi's deposed Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo has declared a "terrorist" group. Qatari ties with Egypt have been strained since the army ousted Morsi after mass unrest against his rule.

Failing health

Doley, a lawyer for London law firm Carter Ruck, said in the letter that Elshamy had acute anaemia, the onset of kidney dysfunction, low blood pressure and hypoglycaemia, and that his weight had dropped from 108kg to 68kg.

Recipients of the letter included US Secretary of State John Kerry, the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, and UN human rights chief Navi Pillay.

Al Jazeera last month served Egypt with a $150m compensation claim for what it said was damage to its media business inflicted by Cairo's military-backed rulers.

Three other Al Jazeera journalists are being tried in Egypt on charges of aiding members of a "terrorist organisation", in a case that human rights groups say shows the authorities are trampling on freedom of expression.

All three deny the charges and Al Jazeera has said the accusations are absurd. Egyptian officials have said the case is not linked to freedom of expression and that the journalists raised suspicions by operating without proper accreditation.

The trio - Peter Greste, an Australian, Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian national, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian - were detained in Cairo on 29 December.

Earlier this year, an Egyptian prosecutor said Al Jazeera journalists had published lies harming the national interest and had supplied money, equipment and information to 16 Egyptians. The foreigners were also accused of using unlicensed broadcasting equipment.

Both state and private Egyptian media have fanned anti-Brotherhood sentiment, suggesting anyone associated with the veteran movement is a traitor and threat to national security.

Egyptians often ask journalists in the streets whether they work for Al Jazeera. Saying yes could mean a beating.

The Brotherhood renounced violence as a means of political change decades ago and says it remains committed to peaceful activism, denying any association with the surge in Islamist insurgent violence since Morsi's downfall.

The crackdown on dissent has raised questions about Egypt's democratic credentials three years after an uprising toppled veteran autocratic president Hosni Mubarak and raised hopes of greater freedoms. Morsi won power in a free election in 2012.

Read more on:    al jazeera  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  media
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Cape Town 06:03 AM
Road name: MetroRail

Train services between Nyanga/Chris Hani (Khayelitsha) and Nyanga/Kapteinsklip remain SUSPENDED - all stations on these sections are CLOSED

Langa 05:59 AM
Road name: N2 Inbound

SARIOUS CRASH at the N7 off-ramp - RAMP CLOSED

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Jan 21 - Feb 18
Jan 21 - Feb 18

You may be inspired to do things that expand your mind in a big way today. You have a need to explore and a need to please....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.