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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Another Ten Days

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

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For the second time this month, the usual adjournment in the ongoing trial of Mahmoud Abu Zeid, the Egyptian photojournalist who goes by the name “Shawkan,” will be ten days rather then one month, which had been the usual postponement length. Shawkan’s next court appearance will be Tuesday, May 30.

Perhaps it means nothing at all.

The photo of Shawkan at top was taken in court today. It is reported that Shawkan’s medical documents were reviewed and that he is “in good condition.” “Good condition” can be a sliding scale: it has long been known that Shawkan has Hepatitis C and his lawyers have reported in the past that essential medications for that illness have been sporadically administered by the prison authorities.

 
Ten more 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 1375th 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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Where Is Dawit Isaak?

Dawit Isaak, the Eritrean-Swedish journalist and playwright, was awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017 today in Jakarta, Indonesia. Today is World Press Freedom Day, a global United Nations commemoration, and Isaak was not present for the UNESCO ceremony.

Dawit Isaak has been held prisoner in Eritrea since September 2001. His whereabouts and his condition are unknown.

In June 2016, in a rare interview with France’s RFI (Radio France Internationale), Eritrea’s Foreign Minister, Osman Saleh, spoke with RFI’s Anthony Lattier about Eritrea’s “political prisoners,” and he specifically revealed that Dawit Isaak is still alive.

It was the first official Eritrean acknowledgement that Isaak is alive since 2009, when the nation’s president, Isaias Afwerki, ominously told a Swedish journalist that Eritrea “knows what to do with” Isaak and others “of his kind.”
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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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Shawkan Is Spared a New Sentence

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 next hearing will be on Tuesday, March 21. And then chaos broke out in the courtroom.

The hearings in the trial of the more than 700 individuals detained in the aftermath of the government’s violent break-up of the Rabaa sit-in protest have unfolded in a logistically trying fashion. After the court’s judges announced the latest postponement, most of the defendants started to chant in unison that the court was unfair, that the session was invalid.

The panel of judges immediately found 700 of the defendants (almost the entire group) guilty of “insulting the judicial system,” and it sentenced each defendant to one year in jail with forced labor added. Shawkan was one of a mere twenty defendants who was not given the new, additional one-year sentence.
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