The trial of photojournalist Shawkan adjourned to May 21
Mahmoud Abou Zaid, courtesy of the Freedom for Shawkan Facebook page

CAIRO: A Cairo court has adjourned the trial of photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid until May 21. Abu Zeid, who is also known as Shawkan, has exceeded 1,000 days in prison since he was arrested in August 2013.

During a Tuesday session, the court resumed viewing some of the physical evidence against the 739 defendants being tried collectively in the case.

Tuesday’s exhibits included bird shots, slingshots and anti-tear gas filters, according to live tweets by Karim Abdel Rady, who is part of Shakwan’s defense team.

One of the defendants, Bassem Ouda, who was the Supply Minister under Morsi, argued Tuesday that he was not informed about his accusations and that his signature was forged on the list of charges, according to Abdel Rady’s twitter account.

Another defendant, Ahmed Aref, a former spokesperson for the banned Brotherhood group, requested to be examined by the forensic medicine authority, claiming that he was tortured in a maximum security prison in Cairo dubbed “Scorpion.”

In the previous court session on May 10, Abdel Rady wrote that the only evidence against Shawkan is his camera and some pictures he took while covering the police dispersal of the pro-Brotherhood Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in in 2013, and that “they are not included in the case.”

Shawkan was rounded up among others while covering the dispersal events in August 2013; two foreign journalists were also detained at the time, but were released shortly after.

Many rights groups harshly condemned Shawkan’s prolonged detention over “sham” charges that are not related to his job.

Some of the accusations against the defendants are: launching arson attacks on public utilities, resisting authorities, possessing unlicensed weapons, blocking roads, premeditated murder and organizing an armed gathering in Rabaa Square.

Shawkan was remanded for over two years, exceeding the maximum limit stipulated by law for pretrial detention. His trial began in February 2016.

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