Last updated: 23 April, 2014

Family of Al-Jazeera journalist urges Egypt to free him

The family of an Al-Jazeera reporter detained in Egypt since August and on hunger strike since January 21 said on Wednesday his health is deteriorating and called for his release.

Abdullah Elshamy, a journalist for the pan-Arab satellite news network, was arrested on August 14 when police dispersed supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi at the massive Rabaa Al-Adawiya protest camp in Cairo, killing hundreds in clashes.

“I call upon the public prosecutor, who is a father, to answer the plea of a mother by releasing Abdullah today,” Thuraya Elshamy said at a news conference organised by Al-Jazeera in Doha.

“My son is a journalist — journalism is not a crime,” she said.

Elshamy’s father urged action to save the life of his son, stressing that “his health has deteriorated due to the hunger strike”.

In a separate case, three other journalists for Al-Jazeera English — Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Australian Peter Greste and producer Baher Mohamed — face charges of spreading news that falsely sought to portray Egypt in a state of “civil war” and colluding with Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

An Egyptian court on Tuesday heard new prosecution evidence, including audio tapes, against some of the journalists before setting the next hearing for May 3.