After spending nearly 10 months detained in an Egyptian prison without charge, Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah Elshamy was released in June. He spoke with HuffPost Live on Tuesday about the "psychological torture" he endured while imprisoned.
Elshamy was arrested last August after police forcibly cleared a protest in support of the ousted president Mohammed Morsi. Elshamy was imprisoned for 307 days, and for five of those months, he went on a hunger strike and lost nearly a third of his body weight.
The Al Jazeera journalist told host Alyona Minkovski that on his fourth and final prison transfer to Cairo's notoriously brutal Tora "Scorpion" prison, he was placed in solitary confinement for over a month. He said that while he initially endured physical abuse, the "psychological torture" was the most difficult part. He explained:
They tried to break you down. Especially after I started my hunger strike, things were getting worse by the day. Then, for the last 37 days when I was put in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison ... I was cut away from the world. I had no kind of contact with my family or I didn’t even get to know what was happening outside. I wasn’t allowed to get in touch with other prisoners, so it was really painful.
This graphic posted on Twitter on Sept. 19 shows the number of prisoners on hunger strike in Egyptian jails.
— Mai El-Sadany (@maitelsadany) September 19, 2014
Elshamy said the pain he endured throughout his detainment is "something that will take its time on me for a long time."
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