London, Asharq Al-Awsat- An Egyptian Islamist jailed in Canada for his involvement with Osama bin Laden was taken to hospital on Tuesday after his hunger strike entered its 67th day.
The wife of Mohammad Zaki Mahjoub, in jail for the last five years, told Asharq al Awsat she last spoke to her husband on Monday and described his voice as “very weak and barely audible.”
Mona al Fouly added that her husband, aged 44, suffers from high blood pressure and hepatitis, which he contracted in prison after being arrested in June 2000. She expressed surprise at news Mahjoub had been moved to hospital after refusing food for 67 consecutive days, adding their children were concerned for their father’s health.
In a conversation with Asharq al Awsat last week, Mahjoub revealed he was living on bread and water in solitary confinement in cell #10, on the first floor of a Toronto jail. He also said he feared for his life if extradited to Egypt because his name appeared on a list of Islamic extremists convicted of religious violence. The appeals court in Canada was expected to examine a request by the Egyptian to halt procedures to return him to Cairo in the upcoming week.
His lawyer, Barbara Jackman, said her client returned to his cell late on Tuesday after his condition stabilized but was continuing his hunger strike, risking a heart attack and suffering from pain to the kidneys and stomach.
Mahjoub had stopped accepting food to protest against his solitary confinement for the past two years. He is demanding an improvement to his conditions and regular visits from his wife and their three children.
A total of five suspected Islamic extremists are detained in Canada for involvement with terrorist organizations, such as Sayyid Jab Allah also in the Toronto prison, for alleged connections with the leadership of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
Suspected of working for Osama bin Laden in Sudan according to the Canadian prosecution, Mahjoub is married to a Canadian citizen of Egyptian origin. He was convicted in absentia in 1993 in Egypt for his role in the “Vanguards of Conquest” (or Talaa al Fateh al Islami) and sentenced to three years in jail. He was also charged for his alleged role in “The returnees from Albania” case.
Other suspected Islamic extremists also sentenced to in absentia were Ayaman al Zawahiri, suspect number one, Nasser Fahmi Hassanain, Adel Abdul Qadroos, Tharwat Salah Shahatah, Tariq Anwar Sayyid Ahmad, Abdul Aziz Moussa Daoud al Jamal.
Canadian documents seen by Asharq al Awsat allege Mahjoub took part in terrorist activities and immigration authorities are seeking to extradite him according to a law, which stipulates that individuals suspected of religious extremism are forbidden to enter the country.