CAIRO: Former Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy has called for the release of photojournalist Mahmoud Abu-Zaid, known as Shawkan, who has spent 10 days in jail after serving the maximum pre-trial detention of two years.
On Aug. 16, after having spent the two years, Shawkan was referred to a criminal trial for the first time with those arrested during pro-Brotherhood protests; they were charged with attempted murder, assaulting security forces and possessing weapons. The photojournalist was arrested Aug. 14, 2013, during his coverage of the police dispersal of Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in.
During an interview with ON TV Sunday, Fahmy mentioned Shawkan’s deteriorating health conditions; he developed hepatitis C inside prison, according to the Freedom for Shawkan Campaign.
Fahmy is currently being retried for fabricating news in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, yet has been released on bail and is under a travel ban. Fahmy said that no evidence has been collected over any affiliation between Shawkan and the Islamist group, other than already spending the maximum detention.
According to the law, a defendant must be released after serving the maximum pre-trial detention, even if a trial is finally set up for him. If the defendant is convicted, the time spent in jail is deducted from his sentence. If he is not convicted, no compensation or redress is legally set for him.