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Egyptian court frees al-Jazeera journalist after prolonged hunger strike

Al-Jazeera Arabic news reporter Abdullah El-Shamy was detained in August 2013 and held in an Egyptian prison without charge. He was released Tuesday on medical grounds.
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   June 17, 2014 at 6:18 PM

CAIRO, June 17 (UPI) -- Al-Jazeera journalist Abdullah El-Shamy has been released from an Egyptian jail on medical grounds after being imprisoned since August 14 without charge.

According to the prosecutor general's office, el-Shamy was being set free Tuesday due to "health conditions." The 26-year-old undertook a hunger strike in January to protest his imprisonment.

In May, his doctor projected that el-Shamy had lost a third of his body weight, that his organs could fail, and he would die imminently.

El-Shamy wrote a letter from Tora prison on May 6, relaying that prison authorities were increasingly concerned about his hunger strike and were trying through alternate expressions of compassion and coercion to convince him to eat.

After two visits from prison officials on May 5 and 6, he wrote "Although I do not know the reasons behind these two incidents, they are indications that victory is imminent. I may not have thought that things would come to a point of stubborn defiance between one individual and an entire regime which is afraid of him and are doing all they can to dissuade him."

El-Shamy's lawyer, Shaanan Saaed, said Tuesay that the prosecutor's decision to release him "confirms what Al Jazeera Media Network has said that Elshamy was just performing his journalistic duty."

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