Photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, was released from prison in Egypt on March 4, more than five years after he was arrested and more than a year after prosecutors had sought the death penalty in his case. However his release carries cond
Mahmoud Abou Zeid, aka Shawkan, faces the death penalty along with 700 others arrested at an anti-government protest in Cairo in 2013.
“Seeking the death penalty for a photographer who simply covered an opposition demonstration is a political punishment, not an act of justice,” RSF said. “Shawkan’s only crime was trying to do his job as a photographer. He must be freed at once.”
Photojournalists like Shawkan have been imprisoned for three years since Egyptian authorizes cracked down on protests, and Mohammed Elshamy feels it is his duty to make their stories heard.
I was on a bus heading back to New York when I got news from Egypt that my brother Abdullah had been released from solitary confinement. I was so overwhelmed with joy, all I could do was scream hysterically. Then I realized: Our friend and colleague Shawkan wasn’t so lucky. I grew quiet, as the thought of Shawkan still imprisoned left me wondering. When would Shawkan and his family have their moment of relief and happiness?
When supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi clashed with Egyptian security forces on Aug. 14, 2013 in Cairo’s Raba'a Al-Adawiya Square,...
for more than 1,000 days since his arrest, Shawkan has been held in Cairo’s Tora Prison, where his health has deteriorated. For the first two years of his imprisonment, he was not granted a trial. Now, finally, he’s included in a mass trial that involves more than 700 other defendants. While, on paper, that’s an improvement, says Yasmin El-Rifae, the Middle East and North Africa research associate for the Committee to Protect Journalists, it’s “not anything that one can describe as being just.”
CAIRO: “I miss my camera, I miss the reason for my scourge and calamity, I miss holding it between my hands to see the life through it…I miss smelling it in the morning before my coffee time, and yes- unfortunately- I miss my work…which costs me days of my life.”
Shawkan's older brother, Mohammed, said Tuesday the letter was sent last weekend. He described his brother as a broken man who has no access to books, only eating and sleeping in a small cell that houses 12 other prisoners.
Photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zied, also known as Shawkan, re-affirmed his innocence, saying “I am a photojournalist, not a criminal”, in an open letter he sent from prison on Saturday.
He was arrested on 14 August 2013 while covering the forced dispersal of the protest camp set up in Rabaa Al-Adaweya in support of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi. International watchdog Human Rights Watch said “at least 817 and likely well over 1,000 people were killed” during the dispersal of this camp alone.