On April 6, Shawkan completed 600 days of detention in “Torah” prison in Egypt. Mahmoud Abou Zeid, also known as Shawkan, is an Egyptian photojournalist who has been detained with no explicit charge. Shawkan was arrested when he was covering the sit-in dispersal of Rabaa Al-Adaweyya –which was calling for the legitimacy of the ousted former president Muhammed Morsi – almost 18 months ago.
The hashtag #FreeShawkan was created to show support for the detained photojournalist, asking the authorities to issue a verdict to release him.
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In a letter Shawkan wrote on Monday, he said, “I don’t know why I’m still here, who is renewing the period of my imprisonment? No pleadings and the judge comes every time to renew according to the decision of prosecution.”
He also added, “I’m neither supporting nor opposing anyone; all I care about is my job. Why are they leaving me here with no logical reason?”
During the sit-in dispersals, Shawkan was arrested along with two other journalists, a French photographer and an American reporter. They were released later on. But Shawkan was thought to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and is still detained.
In 2010, Shawkan worked for “Demotix”, a citizen journalism website, and he was mainly involved in covering the daily cultural life in Egypt. However, after the Egyptian uprising in 2011, he tended to cover political events and protests.