Egypt to release Al-Jazeera journalist Abdullah Elshamy

Video grab of Abdullah Elshamy. 14 May 2014 Abdullah Elshamy was detained last August and has not been charged with any crime

Egypt's public prosecutor has ordered the release of al-Jazeera journalist Abdullah Elshamy on medical grounds.

Mr Elshamy has been on hunger strike for nearly five months to protest against his detention without charge.

He was arrested last August when police broke up a protest by supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi.

Earlier, a court in Cairo said it would deliver its verdict next week in the case of three other al-Jazeera journalists detained in December.

Former BBC correspondent Peter Greste and his colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are accused of spreading false news and collaborating with Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has been designated a terrorist organisation by the government.

Prosecutors have demanded the maximum penalty of at least 15 years in prison for all the defendants, who deny the charges.

Mr Elshamy, who is reported to be in poor health, was one of 13 people who the prosecutor general decided to free on health grounds on Monday. The other 12 were supporters of the Brotherhood.

Mr Elshamy's family told the AFP news agency in May that he had shed 40kg (88lb) since he began his hunger strike.

"Our request to release Abdullah was accepted by the prosecutor general," his lawyer, Shaaban Saeed, said on Monday. "He will be out of Torah prison once we finish the release procedures [on Tuesday] morning."

Mr Elshamy works for al-Jazeera's Arabic channel.

The Qatar-based network was banned from operating inside Egypt after the authorities accused it of broadcasting reports sympathetic to Mr Morsi and the Brotherhood. Al-Jazeera has consistently denied the allegations.

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