An Al Jazeera Arabic reporter was released from an Egyptian prison Tuesday, 10 months after being arrested and held without charge in a case that prompted serious criticism of Egypt’s military-led government.
The Qatar-based satellite channel said Abdullah Elshamy was transferred to a Cairo police station after being set free from the notorious, high-security Scorpion prison.
Egypt's prosecutor general on Monday had ordered his release, citing “health conditions.”
The 26-year-old was met by his mother, wife and brothers as he walked out of the police station in a northern Cairo suburb, The Associated Press reported. Witnesses say the once robust Elshamy looked frail as he exited the facility.
"The appeal which was accepted by the public prosecution was based on the fact that Abdullah was carrying out his duties as a correspondent for Al Jazeera at the time of his arrest,” an Al Jazeera lawyer Shaaban Saeed said.
Al-Jazeera Arabic service reporter Abdullah Elshamy is greeted by friends and family after being released from prison, Cairo, June 17, 2014. (VOA / Hamada Elrasam)
Elshamy was arrested on August 14, 2013, while reporting the police dispersal of sit-in protest in Cairo. In January, he went on hunger strike to protest his detention.
His arrest coincided with a wide crackdown on Islamist supporters of President Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military last year.
Egyptian officials have accused the channel of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization and political party that has been labeled a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government. The network has denied the allegations.
Al-Jazeera calls Elshamy's freedom a relief rather than a cause for celebration. It says he has been through a terrible ordeal, and it thanked all who supported Elshamy, including the White House and European Union.
Al-Jazeera is demanding that Egypt free three English language journalists who remain jailed for allegedly spreading false news — Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy.
Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.