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Close to Death, Hunger Striking Journalist Goes Missing in Egypt

Brother: 'Surely he is still in jail but we don't know where and we cannot communicate with him'

Words of solidarity from Abdullah Elshamy's colleagues (Photo: Abdullah Elshamy Twitter account)

Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Abdullah Elshamy, who has been detained in Egypt since August 2013, has reportedly been moved to an undisclosed location following warnings from his family and doctor that he is near death after more than 100 days on hunger strike.

According to Abdullah's brother, Mosaab Elshamy, the family does not know where Abdullah is currently being held and is unable to communicate with him. "Surely he is still in jail but we don't know where and we cannot communicate with him," Mosaab told AFP.

"He has started to have impaired liver and kidney function," Dr. Mohamed Ussama Al Homsi, who reviewed results from blood tests, stated to Al Jazeera this week, according to an article published Saturday. "All of these can cause big problems for him. This means that his organs are in danger." Al Homsi warned Elshamy could "die within a few days."

“We fear the worst following his transfer because Elshamy is in more need of proper medical attention than ever,” said Reporters Without Borders research director Lucie Morillon in a statement released Tuesday. “We urge the authorities to tell his family and lawyer where he has been transferred. He must quickly be given appropriate medical treatment before being freed. The authorities are responsible for his life and state of health.”


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Elshamy was arrested last August when police attacked supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi, resulting in fighting that killed hundreds of people. Elshamy, who still has not faced formal charges and trial, began his hunger strike in January to protest his conditions of confinement. He was sentenced to another 45 days in prison on May 3.

Elshamy's wife, Jihad Khaled, is reportedly on hunger strike to show solidarity with her incarcerated husband.

Elshamy is one of numerous journalists currently detained in Egypt, including at least three others from Al Jazeera English.


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