Target: Hesham Mohamed Zaki Barakat, Egyptian Public Prosecutor
Goal: Release hunger-striking journalist being held without trial from prison
Abdullah Elshamy, a journalist with Al Jazeera Arabic, has been held for months without charge or trial after reporting on recent, widespread upheaval in his native Egypt. He has been conducting a hunger strike in protest of his imprisonment, and his health is consequently suffering.
Elshamy had been in the country for just over a month at the time of his arrest, previously based in West Africa while working for Al Jazeera. In June he was asked to report on the political upheaval in Egypt, and he was present at a late-summer demonstration staged by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. When security personnel began using deadly force to break up the gathering, he fled the area only to be stopped at a military checkpoint and taken into custody. Although he has been held for months, transferred to different prisons, and beaten multiple times he still has not been charged with any crime.
Elshamy has begun a hunger strike to protest his ill-treatment, and so far the only response from authorities has been to threaten him with transfer to solitary confinement. His health is deteriorating quickly, and he is in dire need of medical attention. Deemand that Elshamy be freed and that he have access to the medical care he requires.
I am writing to express my grave concern for the health of Abdullah Elshamy, who is being held at Tora Istiqbal Prison. He is dire need of medical attention and must be seen by a doctor immediately. Furthermore, he has been detained for months and has yet to be charged with any crime. This suggests that Elshamy should not be in jail at all and that he should therefore be freed immediately.
Elshamy, a journalist with Al Jazeera Arabic, was present at a demonstration staged by supporters of Mohamed Morsi–an understandable fact given that he was tasked with reporting on Egyptian politics. He has been arrested for his apparent “support” of Morsi and has been detained and beaten without any charges being brought against him. The hunger strike he has undertaken in protest has only prompted further harassment from authorities, who now threaten to place him in solitary confinement.
Elshamy does not need to be punished; he needs immediate medical attention. He should not be in jail; he should be a free man. There is but one just course of action: release Abdullah Elshamy immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lilian Wagdy via Wikimedia Commons