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Thursday, 29 July 2021

UPDATED: Egypt court renews detention of Al Jazeera hunger-striking journalist El-Shamy

Al-Jazeera Arabic journalist Abdullah El-Shamy, who was arrested in Cairo on 14 August, has been on a hunger strike since January

Ahram Online , Wednesday 11 Jun 2014
Abdullah El-Shamy
Still from leaked video of statement by hunger striker Abdullah El-Shamy

An Egyptian court has renewed the detention of hunger-striking Al-Jazeera journalist Abdullah El-Shamy for 45 days, a judicial source told Ahram Online.

El-Shamy has been held for almost ten months since he was arrested on 14 August when police dispersed major protest camps in Cairo by supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, leaving hundreds killed.

El-Shamy, who works for the Qatar-based network's Arabic channel, has been on a hunger strike since late January in protest at his detention. He has lost almost a third of his weight.

He faces allegations that include inciting violence, rioting, and disrupting public order. He has yet to be referred to trial.

El-Shamy's lawyer said he appeared to be suffering "severe fatigue" during Wednesday's hearing, held at a courthouse in Tora Prison on the southern outskirts of Cairo

He was called out of his dock to be examined by prosecutors, an Ahram Online reporter said.

Officials last week said the jailed journalist was in good health, claiming he had ended his hunger strike. 

El-Shamy's family, who visited him in a highly-guarded security prison last week, said he had told them he "had eaten no food and that no food had entered his cell at any time," Al-Jazeera English website reported.

The family has repeatedly warned that the detained journalist's health is in danger.

Three other Al-Jazeera journalists -- including an Australian national – who work for the network's English-language channel, have been held in Egypt since December 2013.

They face trial over allegations of airing false news and aiding or joining the Muslim Brotherhood movement, designated by authorities as a terrorist group.

On Thursday, prosecutors demanded the "maximum" penalty of 15 to 25 years in jail for all 20 defendants in the case.

The trial has triggered international fury amid mounting fears over media freedom in Egypt, the Arab world's biggest country.

Al Jazeera strongly dismisses the charges against all of its journalists and continues to call for their immediate release.

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