CAIRO: A Cairo court on Saturday adjourned the trial of Photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, to May 31 in the “Rabaa dispersal” case to continue viewing physical evidences.
Shawkan, a freelance photojournalist, has exceeded 1,000 days in prison since he was arrested in August 2013, while he was tasked to cover the police dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in.
During Saturday court session, Shawkan was called out of the sound-proof dock, in which he stood next to hundreds of defendants in the same case. He addressed Judge Hassan Farid saying how he was arrested while doing his job.
His lawyer Karim Abdel Rady live tweeted Shawkan’s testimonies, who said that he was standing near security forces when covering the 2013 events “thinking this way he will be protected,” but instead, he was arrested.
“I responded to the security bodies’ invitation [to journalists] to cover [the dispersal] and went to do my job, and I have no political affiliation,” Shawkan was quoted by Abdel Rady during the session.
According to Abdel Rady, Shawkan said that he was arrested along with two other journalists; French and American, who were released, while “his equipment was seized” and he was arrested by the police.
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.