“Shawkan” – Write for Rights – Short

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Urge Egypt to drop all charges against Shawkan and free him immediately.

Mahmoud Abu Zeid, better known as Shawkan, was only doing his job. A photojournalist, he was covering a sit-in on 14 August 2013 in Cairo, when security forces swept in.

“It was like a Hollywood movie,” he wrote later. “It felt like we were in the middle of a war. There were bullets, tear gas, fire, police, soldiers and tanks everywhere.”

Shawkan used his camera to capture the mayhem around him. Police and soldiers had been deployed across the country to stamp out dissent where they found it. It was the bloodiest incident in Egypt’s recent history, claiming some 1,000 lives in one day.

When police found out Shawkan was a journalist, they arrested him. They tied his hands together with plastic cables that cut through his skin, bloodying his wrists. They punched him and whipped him with a belt. Today he is held in Cairo’s notorious Tora Prison, and although he has Hepatitis C, he isn’t getting the medical care he needs.

It’s been three years since Shakwan was jailed. In a recent court hearing he told the judge: “Taking pictures isn’t a crime.” He’s right.

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