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Free Egyptian Photojournalist Shawkan

Image of Shawkan


Shawkan was sentenced to five years and is due to be released in the next few days after having been unjustly detained for five years in Cairo's Tora Prison. He will be released under "police observation" for five years, and will have to appear at a police station every day at sunset. Shawkan's lawyer is appealing this. Stay tuned for future updates.


Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) has been imprisoned in Egypt since August 14, 2013.

Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as “Shawkan,” was detained when working as a photojournalist while covering the deadly “Rabaa dispersal” on August 14th 2013. He was initially held in a Cairo stadium with protesters and two foreign journalists. Both foreign journalists were released a few hours later.

Shawkan has been held arbitrarily in prison for five years now, with trumped up charges and more than 70 postponed trials to date. He has hepatitis C and is not receiving proper medical attention. Cramped with twelve people in a small dark cell, his health is badly deteriorating.

In early 2017, the prosecutor in his case called for the death penalty–just for taking photographs. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations including Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, PEN America and many others are working for his release.

On World Press Freedom Day (May 3rd), Shawkan was awarded the prestigious 2018 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize. His talent is gaining global recognition and thousands of people around the world are speaking out against the cruel and intolerable injustice he has been suffering.