CAIRO: The June 30 fact-finding committee, established by the interim President Adly Mansour in Dec. 2013 said Thursday that Abdullah Elshamy, a detained Al-Jazeera journalist on a hunger strike, is in ‘good health.’
The Secretary General of the committee, Omar Marwan, said in a Thursday press conference that Elshamy is accused in a criminal case on charges of gathering and assaulting police officers, and that he is not a political detainee.
Marwan claimed Elshamy denied being tortured and also signed a statement that he would break his hunger strike, adding food and drinks were found at Elshamy’s cell in prison when the committee inspected it.
A statement posted Wednesday on the Facebook page of Elshamy’s brother Mosa’ab said that Elshamy told his family during their Wednesday visit that he did not break his hunger strike, which began over 120 days ago.
During the visit, Elshamy denied leaked pictures that appear to show him eating and drinking. “He said he knows nothing about these pictures and was in a deep shock…and he ensured he did/will not stop his hunger strike until he either referred to trial or released,” said Mosa’ab.
On Jan. 21, Elshamy started his hunger strike as a protest to his renewed detention without formal charges drawn against him. His family has stated he has lost up to a third of his body weight.
In solidarity with Elshamy, his wife Gehad Khaled along with other activists started a hunger strike demanding his release.
Elshamy’s family said that when they visited him May 22, the prison had closed the only opening found in his solitary confinement cell, “which increased Abdullah’s isolation from the other prisoners and he was allowed to do sports, only since two days, but away from the other detainees,” in their post.
Elshamy told his family during their Wednesday visit that he decided to stop drinking by the end of May “after he was banned from buying bottled water by himself…after which he lost consciousness.”
Elshamy’s health deteriorated and he was examined by prison doctors who told him his kidney was about to stop functioning. The statement said that Elshamy was then allowed to buy his bottled water from the prison cafeteria.
Abdullah denied being transferred to the prison’s hospital as announced Tuesday by the prisons’ authority and the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), and that he was only visited by “a delegation from the forensic medicine authority according to public prosecution’s instructions.”
He leaked a recorded video from his cell May 14 in which he said, “I have requested several medical checkups from independent sources but this has yet not been provided.”
“The council insists to visit Elshamy to inspect his health condition and will submit a report accordingly,” said member of NCHR, George Isaac to The Cairo Post.
In a Thursday hearing, Elshamy’s trial was adjourned to June 11, because he did not attend the trial.
The June 30 fact finding committee said in Thursday’s conference that the other detainee Mohamed Sultan, the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader, was also in good health and that he being held on criminal charges.
Sultan was arrested on Aug. 27, 2013. He has been on a hunger strike for 105 days after his detention was repeatedly renewed.
Additional reporting by Amira el-Fekki