Middle East

Al-Jazeera reporter detained in Egypt appears in video

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Media captionFootage of Abdullah Elshamy, who has been on hunger strike since January

A video has been posted online of an al-Jazeera reporter who is on the 107th day of a hunger strike against his detention in Egypt.

Abdullah Elshamy has been held since August but has not been charged.

Meanwhile, the trial of three other Al-Jazeera journalists was adjourned for a week on Thursday, and the defendants were again denied bail.

They are among 20 people facing charges for defamation and supporting the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The group was designated a terrorist organisation in December, five months after the military ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi.

The interim government and its supporters have accused international news networks of bias in their reporting of human rights abuses against Morsi supporters and secular dissenters.

'Critical stage'

Mr Elshamy, who works for the network's Arabic channel, was arrested on 14 August when police broke up a sit-in of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in Cairo. Hundreds were killed in the clashes.

The journalist has been on hunger strike since 21 January to protest his detention and has yet to face trial. On 3 May, a court extended his detention for another 45 days.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Elshamy was arrested in August during clashes between police and protesters that left hundreds dead

In footage apparently shot in his prison cell, Mr Elshamy said he will hold "the Egyptian regime" responsible if his "health fails totally."

He says he has made several requests for medical treatment but has not received any. Al-Jazeera said he was "effectively missing" after losing so much weight.

His brother Mosaab told the AFP news agency that Mr Elshamy was at a "critical stage."

"The best thing of all they can do is release him and end this 9-month ordeal. Abdullah is a journalist and journalism is not a crime," Al-Jazeera said.

'Silencing the messenger'

Three other Al-Jazeera journalists, who work for the network's English-language channel, are on trial for spreading false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy (R) and Peter Greste have been held since December

Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian who ran the al-Jazeera English bureau in Cairo, has been in detention along with the former BBC journalist Peter Greste and producer Baher Mohamed since December.

Human Rights Watch called for the release of all four journalists, saying authorities have yet to provide any compelling evidence that they committed any crime.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at the group, said the Egyptian government should be "addressing the serious problems that journalists report."

"Instead, they are trying to silence the messenger, jailing journalists on the basis of laws that violate basic freedoms."