Al Jazeera Arabic journalist, Abdullah Elshamy, who has been on hunger strike in an Egyptian prison for the past 112 days, has been taken from his prison cell to an undisclosed location, sources say.
Monday’s development came a day after his lawyer asked Egyptian authorities to transfer him to hospital within 48 hours.
Shaaban Saeed said his client could die if he is not given immediate help
Elshamy’s health has been deteriorating rapidly with blood tests conducted on May 8 showing that he was suffering from acute anaemia, decreasing red blood cells and kidney dysfunction.
“He has started to have impaired liver and kidney function,” Dr Mohamed Ussama Al Homsi, the doctor who reviewed the test results, told Al Jazeera. “All of these can cause big problems for him. This means that his organs are in danger.”Elshamy has been imprisoned in Egypt for 271 days and during his hunger strike, he has lost a third of his body weight. Three other Al Jazeera journalists are also being held in an Egyptian jail.
Homsi said Elshamy’s condition was life-threatening and he could “die within a few days”.
He added that the journalist’s hunger strike has gone beyond all records and he should stop immediately.
“He should be transferred to an intensive care unit,” Homsi said. “I’m worried about what his situation might be now.”
Elshamy sent a letter from prison on May 6, describing how guards tried to convince him to start eating.
A guard talked “about the importance of looking after my health, trying to be friendly by saying he would refer my case to the prosecutor and to the court as if that had not been done already,” Elshamy wrote.
‘Contesting the ill-treatment’
Besides Elshamy, Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed of Al Jazeera English have been incarcerated in Egypt’s Tora prison for 133 days.
On World Press Freedom Day, Fahmy commented on Elshamy’s hunger strike, saying that the “dozens of prisoners enduring weeks of genuine, life-threatening hunger strikes, are noble men who have no other way to contest the ill-treatment they face in prison.”
Journalists covering Elshamy’s court hearing on May 3 recorded him as saying that he had not seen a doctor or a lawyer since he was jailed.
Al Jazeera’s journalists stand accused of spreading false news and aligning with the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that the current Egyptian government considers to be a “terrorist” organisation.
The trial of Greste, Fahmy and Mohammed has been adjourned until May 15.
Al Jazeera strongly denies the accusations made against its staff and has called on the Egyptian authorities to free them immediately.