Prominent photojournalist sent to five years in prison

An Egyptian court has sent prominent photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, widely known as Shawkan, to five years in prison.

Shawkan had earlier this year received UNESCO’s World Freedom Prize.

The photojournalist was arrested in August 2013 as he covered deadly clashes in Cairo between security forces and supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

He was accused of “murder and membership of a terrorist organisation.

Shawkan should be able to leave prison “within a few days”, his lawyer Karim Abdelrady said as he welcomed the verdict.

But the lawyer added that the sentence was nevertheless “unfair because he (Shawkan) was only doing his job” and covering the events unfolding in the Egyptian capital five years ago. 
 
Shawkan, gestures from inside a soundproof glass dock during his trial in the capital Cairo on August 9, 2016

Shawkan’s detention sparked outrage among human rights groups and NGOs who lobbied continuously for his release.

On Thursday, Amnesty International and press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) held a joint rally outside the Egyptian embassy in Paris to demand that he be set free.

Shawkan was one of more than 700 defendants on trial in the same case, most of them facing charges of killing police and vandalising property during the clashes.

The same court that jailed him also confirmed on Saturday death sentences initially issued in July against 75 defendants, including leaders of Morsi’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Amnesty and Human Rights Watch say at least 40,000 people were arrested in the first year after Morsi’s ouster on July 3, 2013.

Egypt’s courts have sentenced hundreds of them to death or lengthy jail terms after speedy mass trials, that the human rights group said made a mockery of due process.

They include Morsi and several leaders of his Brotherhood movement.
Prominent photojournalist sent to five years in prison   Prominent photojournalist sent to five years in prison Reviewed by Get it Right Nigerians on 12:30:00 Rating: 5

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