Egyptian authorities continue to prevent the detained journalist, Hisham Abdelaziz, from access to necessary medical care as his health worsens, amid growing fears of the risk of his vision loss after becoming deaf, in a flagrant violation of local laws and international conventions.
Hisham Abdulaziz, an Al Jazeera Mubasher TV Channel reporter who was arrested on June 20, 2019, was accused of spreading false news and being “a member of terrorist group”, charges that the Egyptian authorities often used during the past decade as an excuse to silence journalists and dissenting voices.
According to sources close to his family, the journalist Abdulaziz has become deaf as a result of being denied from receiving adequate medical treatment for Otosclerosis - also known as calcification of the middle ear- despite his suffering throughout the past year.
But worse, sources added, Hisham is furthermore threatened by soon vision loss due to the continued lack of necessary health care in prison.
Last year, his family repeatedly appealed to the relevant authorities to allow him to receive treatment and undergo an urgent operation to save him from blindness due to his suffering from cataracts and ocular hypertension, resulting in corneal opacity.
The Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) holds the Egyptian authorities responsible for the medical status of Hisham Abdelaziz, considering the denial of health care a form of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment not subject to the statute of limitations, and willful neglect as a punishment for Hisham's affiliation with the free press.
According to the WJWC’s monitoring unit, the detained journalists, male and female, accounted for 55 until late December, including 41 journalists still in remand prisons, and 14 others who have been sentenced, most of whom are suffering from poor health conditions and degrading treatment.
Here are some demands by the WJWC to the Egyptian authorities:
- Immediate and unconditional release of Hisham Abdulaziz who should receive full health care in a hospital outside the prison in the meantime.
- Immediate and unconditional release of all detained male and female journalists, and putting an end to violations against them.
- An end to blatant crackdown on the press and journalists, and to the use of ready-made accusations against them.
In this context, the WJWC calls on the international community and the Egyptian, Arab and international media to express solidarity and put pressure on the Egyptian authorities to release Hisham Abdulaziz and his fellow journalists.