Hope 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 next hearing will be on Saturday, February 25, and that the court will inspect his medical records.

As 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 unfold, every so often several detainees are released for “medical reasons.” Shawkan’s deteriorating health began to qualify him for a release under medical grounds at least two years ago, but his detention continues, three-and-a-half years after his arrest.

Perhaps the news that medical tests were ordered is the break in Shawkan’s story that he and his international community of supporters have long waited for.

(The photo at the top is the most recent cover of the United Nations Association – UK’s magazine. Shawkan is on the cover of its “Facts Still Matter” issue, which was published in December 2016.)
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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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On to 2017 for Shawkan

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

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The ordeal that the photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (“Shawkan”) has endured since 2013 will continue into 2017, it was learned earlier today at a hearing of the Cairo Criminal Court in Egypt. The next hearing for the 700-plus defendants arrested in August 2013 in the round-up of a sit-it is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, January 17.

At court today, ten defendants were ordered to be released for health reasons, but Shawkan was not among them. His family reports that his health is deteriorating.

The photo at top was taken by the photojournalist Mohamed El Raai today. The new year merely brings a continuation of a long story.

Shawkan’s story 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 wrote the following background article:
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For Shawkan, the Nightmare Continues

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

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In a courtroom near Cairo, Egypt, earlier today (December 10), the case of photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (“Shawkan”) was adjourned once again, this time until Tuesday, December 27.

Today is International Human Rights Day, a date celebrated by the United Nations and human rights organizations for decades. Around the world today, people have been posting photos of themselves “behind bars” in support of Shawkan. The photo at top is one collection of dozens I that greeted me on my Twitter feed today. Amnesty International has a “Write for Rights” public petition on Shawkan’s behalf, as well: Write for Rights for Shawkan.

Shawkan’s story has so far been 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.
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Shawkan’s Trial Delayed Until 12/10

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

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In a courtroom near Cairo, Egypt, earlier today (November 19), the case of photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (“Shawkan”) was adjourned once again, this time until Saturday, December 10.

December 10 is also, coincidentally or perversely, International Human Rights Day, celebrated by the United Nations for decades. Shawkan’s story has so far been 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.
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65 Freed in Egypt; Shawkan Remains in Prison

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 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi this fall to “look into the conditions of pre-trial detainees arrested in cases related to freedom of expression” gave him a list of 83 detainees to grant early releases or pardons. Today, 82 were pardoned, and as of this morning, 65 were freed, but the Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (“Shawkan”) was not among them.

He was not freed and his name was not on the list the committee submitted.
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When Will Shawkan Be Freed?

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

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On the good days, the dozen prisoners negotiate their way through the impossibility of the circumstances. The bad days are simply more impossible, because even impossible situations can be made worse.

The prisoners are crowded in a space the size of a child’s bedroom, nine feet by twelve feet, which for obvious reasons does not have cots for all twelve occupants. They take turns sleeping on the cot or on spaces on the floor. A sink and toilet sit open against one wall. The prisoners take turns cooking on a two-plate electric cooker, which during the winter months has served as the unheated prison cell’s heat source.

The sky, the only way to know if it is day or night, is seen through a small gap in the iron bars in the ceiling of the cell. One prisoner wrote in 2014:
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The Latest Delay for Shawkan

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

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The trial of the photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (“Shawkan”) was postponed once again today, November 1, this time until November 19, 2016. I sent inquiries to several sources this morning with the request for any details about today’s hearing. No one has yet replied.

Anyone following Shawkan’s case can see that the waiting is wearying. Look at the photo at top. It was taken today, November 1. The trial itself is trial enough for Shawkan, who is a photojournalist who was arrested in a general roundup of a protest in August 2013.

Thus the next court appearance for Shawkan will be Saturday, November 19, in Cairo, Egypt. It will be the latest chapter in a three-year saga, a Kafkaesque tale that should not be taking place at all. I published this article yesterday about this tale of a journalist trapped in a story:
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