Abdullah Elshamy, an Al Jazeera reporter who has been in jail in Egypt on trumped-up charges for nearly a year, has been ordered released on account of his failing health, and judging from before-and-after photos of Elshamy, it's clear that his release is an urgent matter.
For the past 147 days, the 25-year-old Elshamy—whom Amnesty International calls a "prisoner of conscience"—has been on a hunger strike to protest his conditions and those of several colleagues in state custody, according to Al Jazeera. It hardly helps that he's been held in solitary confinement and been treated in his cell rather than a hospital. His family, which was permitted to visit with him for 20 minutes about two weeks ago, also "said authorities had covered a small window in his cell, further isolating him," according to Al Jazeera.
Here is what Elshamy looked like in happier and healthier times before his detention last August:
His arrest, and the detention of several of his colleagues, was a political ploy related to the military coup, Al Jazeera maintains:
He was arrested on August 14 while covering the violent dispersal of a sit-in by supporters of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was overthrown by the army in July...
Al Jazeera English journalists Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy are still behind bars... accused of reporting "false news" and aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Mohamed, Greste and Fahmy have now been held for 170 days on charges that Al Jazeera strongly denies.
Here is an AP photograph of Mohamed, Greste, and Fahmy in the dock with fellow defendants at their trial:
Prosecutors reportedly have used tons of bizarre evidence in the case against them, "including a pop video by Gotye, a faked photograph, a BBC podcast and videos made outside of Egypt about an animal hospital," Al Jazeera claims. If acquitted, as many observers believe they will be, they could be free by month's end.
[Photo credits: Al Jazeera, AP Images]