Shawkan’s Latest Delay

A journalist’s job is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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June 13: The next hearing in the ongoing trial of Mahmoud Abu Zeid, the Egyptian photojournalist who goes by the name “Shawkan,” will be held on Tuesday, July 4, it was learned today.

An additional three weeks. For a human rights trial noteworthy for its glacial pace, this is the latest example of the trial’s simple inhumanity. One more delay is a delay; years of delays are a lifetime.

Today is Shawkan’s 1400th day in prison.
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Justice Delayed: ‘This is my existence … I’m Shawkan’

A journalist’s job is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Perhaps it is an indication of progress that the latest adjournment in the ongoing trial of Mahmoud Abu Zeid, the Egyptian photojournalist who goes by the name “Shawkan,” was announced in court today for a date that is less than a month in the future: Saturday, May 20. Most of the postponements in the trial have been a month or longer.

Perhaps it means nothing at all. The court was presented with a “report on the forensic medicine of” Shawkan but Shawkan was reported to not be present:

 
Eleven days. For a human rights trial noteworthy for its glacial pace, perhaps the fact of a briefer delay until the morning that Shawkan can have his case heard means something, but this trial rebuffs all attempts to interpret its tiny shifts and huge delays.

Today is Shawkan’s 1365th day in prison.

Shawkan’s ongoing story, with its staggered month-by-month steps, is one of the denial of basic human rights by a nation allied with Western governments, but it also has been a story of many citizens stepping up and making certain that Shawkan’s story is heard. Both stories are worth knowing.

Shawkan is one of approximately twenty-five journalists jailed in Egypt, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

For those unaware of Shawkan’s story, I recently wrote the following background article:
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For Shawkan: One More Month

A journalist’s job is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Although Shawkan is approaching his forty-fourth month in jail, a court in Egypt today postponed the continuing trial of Mahmoud Abu Zeid, the Egyptian photojournalist who goes by the name “Shawkan,” until Tuesday, May 9. One more month.

Shawkan’s ongoing story, with its staggered month-by-month steps, is one of the denial of basic human rights by a nation allied with Western governments, but it also has been a story of many citizens stepping up and making certain that Shawkan’s story is heard. Both stories are worth knowing.

Shawkan is one of twenty-five journalists jailed in Egypt, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

For those unaware of Shawkan’s story, I recently wrote the following background article:
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For Shawkan, Another Delay

A journalist’s job is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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The next hearing in the ongoing trial of Mahmoud Abu Zeid (photo at top), an Egyptian photojournalist who goes by the name “Shawkan,” will be Saturday, April 8, it was learned this morning.

Shawkan’s ongoing story, with its staggered month-by-month steps, is one of the denial of basic human rights by a nation allied with Western governments, but it also has been a story of many citizens stepping up and making certain that Shawkan’s story is heard. Both stories are worth knowing.

For those unaware of Shawkan’s story, I recently wrote the following background article:
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203 Freed in Egypt; Shawkan Not Among Them

A journalist’s job is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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The “Detained Youth Committee” that was established by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2016 to “look into the conditions of pre-trial detainees arrested in cases related to freedom of expression” gave him on Monday its second list of detainees to release or pardon. A total of 203 names were on the list and today Egypt’s president announced pardons for all 203, according to news agencies.

Mahmoud Abu Zeid (photo at top), an Egyptian photojournalist who goes by the name “Shawkan,” was not one of the 203. His name was not on the list.

The president does not possess the authority to interfere in Egypt’s judicial processes, but he can issue pardons.

Photographs of the happy reunions between the newly released prisoners and their family members started to be published this morning: “Prisoners pardoned by presidency released.” It is the sort of news story that Shawkan would have been reporting with his camera, but his livelihood and more than three years of his life have both been stolen by Egypt.
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Justice Delayed Once Again for Shawkan

A journalist’s job is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Mahmoud Abu Zeid, an Egyptian photojournalist who goes by the name “Shawkan,” learned today that his trial was once again postponed, this time until Tuesday, February 7. Ten prisoners, co-defendants with Shawkan, were released today for medical reasons. Shawkan’s deteriorating health began to qualify him for a release under medical grounds two years ago, but his detention continues, three-and-a-half years after his arrest.
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A Missed Opportunity to Help Shawkan?

On Tuesday, eight TDs from the Dáil Éireann, Ireland’s lower house in its legislature, visited a young man who was arrested in Egypt in August 2013 and has been held in prison ever since: Ibrahim Halawa. The TDs also met with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who told them that he could not intervene on behalf of the young prisoner, but that upon the conclusion of his trial Halawa would be free to return to Ireland.

Ibrahim Halawa is a citizen of Ireland, born there in 1995 and raised there. His family is Egyptian, and he and his sisters traveled to Egypt in the summer of 2013 and took part in the protests riling that nation that summer. The previous president, Mohamed Morsi, had been kicked out of office in a coup, and everyday citizens who support democracy joined with Morsi’s supporters and with actual members of his political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, in the street protests.
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Oct. 22: Where is Shawkan?

Update, October 21/22, 2016: A source close to Mahmoud Abou Zeid, the Egyptian photographer known as “Shawkan,” reported to me today that there is less that is known with certainty about Shawkan’s whereabouts than what has been reported in the media in the last 48 hours, including in this website.

What is known this Friday night/Saturday morning is that when Shawkan’s brother, Mehmet, visited Tora Prison to see his brother earlier this week, he was informed that Shawkan was not at the prison. (Mehmet confirmed that himself to this website and to other publications.) This was the first time that anyone had learned of Shawkan’s transfer. To the best that I have been able to ascertain, even Shawkan’s lawyers had not been contacted in advance or advised about any changes in Shawkan’s status.

It is understood that about 300 prisoners were moved from Tora Prison recently (even the date is not yet known) and Shawkan is believed to be one of the prisoners. Because no one has been in contact with Shawkan himself, it is not known where he is tonight: he could be back in Tora Prison or still be at another location.
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