National Press Club

Press Club lauds release of jailed journalist in Egypt, urges court to free others

June 17, 2014 | By John M. Donnelly | jdonnelly@cq.com

The National Press Club expressed relief that an al Jazeera reporter has been released from jail in Egypt, but the Club called on authorities there also to release other journalists held prisoner for doing their jobs.

Abdullah Elshamy, an Al-Jazeera correspondent, had been held without formal charge since August 2013 and was freed on June 16 on medical grounds. He had been on hunger strike for the past 140 days and reportedly had lost considerable weight.

However, three other detained Al-Jazeera journalists – Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Adel Fahmy, who has Egyptian and Canadian dual nationality, reporter Peter Greste, an Australian who used to work for the BBC, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian employee, have been held since Dec. 29. Their Egyptian trial court says that it will issue a verdict in their trial on June 23.

"The National Press Club appreciates the release of Abdullah Elshamy of al Jazeera, but until the other al Jazeera reporters and other imprisoned journalists are released, justice will not have been served," said Club President Myron Belkind. "We urge the court to do the right thing and release them."

The National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. Through its Press Freedom Committee, the Club speaks out on behalf of reporters worldwide.