LONDON - Qatar-based satellite network Al Jazeera has written to world powers asking them to secure the release of one of its journalists jailed in Egypt, accusing the authorities in Cairo of endangering his life.

In a letter seen by Reuters, a lawyer acting for the pan-Arab network said the health of Abdullah Elshamy, one of four Al Jazeera reporters being held in Egypt, was "of the gravest possible concern and in need of immediate attention".

Elshamy, who has been on hunger strike since Jan. 21 to protest against his detention, is being held in solitary confinement in dire conditions, the letter said.

"Mr Elshamy's situation is of grave concern; his health is deteriorating and the Egyptian authorities show no sign of providing appropriate medical care or of bringing an end to his entirely unwarranted and indefensible detention without charge," Cameron Doley, a lawyer acting for Al Jazeera, wrote.

"Time is of the essence."

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