Photojournalist, Mahmoud Abu Zeid (known as Shawkan), is passionate about taking pictures. He is now paying the price for his peaceful work and faces life imprisonment.
Police arrested Mahmoud Abu Zeid in August 2013 after he photographed security forces’ violent dispersal of street protests in Cairo. Mahmoud Abu Zeid has been in detention ever since, in violation of Egyptian law that sets the maximum period for pre-trial detention at two years. He is the only Egyptian journalist to have been held beyond the two-year cap on pre-trial detention.
Shawkan has been referred to Cairo’s Criminal Court to face trumped-up charges in a mass trial of 738 defendants. The first court session is set for December 12, and his lawyer has yet to be given access to the full casefile. Amnesty International considers Shawkan to be a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.
This is his latest letter from prison:
In the next few days, finally I’m going to at least know my destiny. But, I do not know how am I feeling? In no way do I feel like it will be my justice day.
I do not want to disappoint you, I am just trying to be real. In my country we have lost meaning of that kind of words.
Of course after more than 850 days in the black hole without fairness and justice, I am lost in limbo.
Just because I was doing my job as a photographer. I am in jail without even knowing why am I here?!
I’m sorry to tell you that “I became a person of full of hopelessness.”
This is my new me. However, I keep resisting my new me because of you and only because all of you, all the people and all supporters who are standing by me.
You keep me feeling that I’m not alone. You all have become my power and my energy and without all of you I can not go through this. I want to send my deep love and respect and my appreciation of all what you are doing for me. I feel so lucky to have such kind people like you. And indeed it’s my honor to count you as my friends.
“KEEP SHOUTING, JOURNALISM IS NOT A CRIME”