A New Delay for Shawkan Zeid

UPDATE, February 6, 2016: For a second time, the Egyptian court hearing for Mahmoud Abu Zeid, the photojournalist known as “Shawkan,” has been postponed, this time until March 26. The court cited the same reason it gave for the first postponement in December: that it does not have the space to accommodate the hearing. Because he was arrested in a widespread government crackdown, which was known as the “Rabaa Dispersal,” Shawkan has been included with 737 other individuals. All face similar charges of offenses against public order and national security, violence, murder, attacking security forces and civilians, engaging in armed conflicts, and destroying public facilities.

Multiple sources are reporting today that Shawkan has been moved to a “disciplinary cell,” in other words, solitary confinement. His social media accounts describe a tiny cell, a daily slice of bread, a bucket, no blanket. There is a disgusting irony in placing him in a small cell for any length of time, whether one hour or until March 26, when the reason for the two delays has been lack of space.
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A Thank You from Movements.org

The website Movements.org was launched last year as a tool to “crowdsource human rights.” It is a great idea. In the last five years or so, many crowdsourcing sites have been started and most of them are geared toward raising money for specific projects. Movements does not raise funds, but awareness.

If you know about a human rights violation and you think the world needs to know about it, you post a statement about it there in your language. Activists read about it and take it from there. On the other side, if you are an activist looking for a story that has not received much attention yet, several dozen new ones are posted each day. If you are someone who cares about human rights as an issue, as a philosophical idea, but you do not know where to begin, who to contact, or what to say, Movements.org is a fine place to start. In certain ways, it puts the human back into the phrase “human rights,” because the cases featured on the site are stories of individuals, not the usual eye-tiring and heart-saddening litany of overwhelming numbers.

Readers of this website know that I have recently featured the story of a photographer named Shawkan, who has been in prison in Egypt for two and a half years now. Today, Movements.org cited TheGadAboutTown.com in a section of the website called “Success Stories.”
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