Al Jazeera Journalist, On A Hunger Strike For 147 Days, Is Set Free In Egypt

Abdullah Elshamy, who had been held without charges for almost a year, was released on Tuesday. “I won,” he told reporters.

1. Updated — June 17, 4:14 p.m. ET

2. Abdullah Elshamy, an Al Jazeera journalist who had been on a 147-day hunger strike to protest his yearlong detainment in Egypt, was set free Tuesday.


Egypt’s prosecutor general on Monday ordered the release of the Al Jazeera journalist.

“The decision confirms what Al Jazeera Media Network has said, that Elshamy was just performing his journalistic duty,” his lawyer said.

3. “My elder brother Abdullah Elshamy is free after 10 months of prison in Cairo.”

His mother, wife, and brothers met him at a police station, according to the Associated Press.

4. The prosecutor’s office said that 13 people, including Elshamy, would be set free due to their “health conditions.”

5. In a statement, Al Jazeera said that Elshamy had been through a “terrible ordeal” and that his release was “a relief rather than a cause for celebration.”

6. Elshamy was arrested on Aug. 14, 2013, while on assignment for Al Jazeera at the Muslim Brotherhood protest camp in Rabaa, Cairo.

AP Photo/Hamada Elrasam, File

In this May 15 file photo, Abdullah Elshamy (center) appears in a defendant’s cage along with several other defendants in a courthouse during a trial on terror charges in Cairo. Two days after his arrest, prosecutors alleged that Elshamy belong to the banned Brotherhood and accused him of attacking government officials along with other acts of violence and sabotage. However, he was never charged with a crime.

7. Elshamy went on a hunger strike in January to protest his prolonged imprisonment without charges. His health was failing dramatically according to his family, who were allowed to visit him in his cell for 20 minutes on June 4.

Elshamy was imprisoned in the solitary confinement wing of the Scorpion maximum-security prison on the outskirts of Cairo.

Doctors met with Elshamy and ran tests that showed his hunger strike had left him with kidney dysfunction, severe anemia, and low red blood cell count.

8. Gehad Khaled, Egyptian activist and Elshamy’s wife, said that prison officials were trying to force-feed Elshamy during his hunger strike.

9. A judge on Monday also announced that he will issue a verdict on June 23 against three other Al Jazeera journalists, accused of reporting false news and aiding the Brotherhood.

AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste, and Mohamed Fahmy have been held in a cell for 170 days on charges of aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Al Jazeera has strongly denied all charges against its journalists.

10. “For six months now we have been treated like terrorists with weapons,” Mohammed Fahmy, Canadian-Egyptian acting bureau chief of Al Jazeera, told the court on Monday.

AP Photo/Hamada Elrasam

From left: Mohammed Fahmy, Australian correspondent Peter Greste, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed appear in a defendant’s cage along with several other defendants during their trial on terror charges at a courtroom in Cairo in May.

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Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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