Jailed Egyptian journalist to be awarded UNESCO press freedom prize

By REUTERS
April 23, 2018 16:57
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CAIRO - Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid won the 2018 Press Freedom Prize awarded by the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO on Monday, a choice that drew criticism from the Egyptian authorities.

The government arrested Abu Zeid, also known as Shawkan, in 2013 as he photographed security forces dispersing an anti-government sit-in, during which hundreds of protesters and several security forces members were killed.

Shawkan, who is still in detention, and more than 700 other people face many charges, which include belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, possessing firearms and murder. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

He will have a hearing tomorrow, but no verdict is expected.

He denies all charges, his lawyer Karim Abd el-Rady said.

International rights organizations, including Amnesty International and The Committee to Protect Journalists, have repeatedly denounced Shawkan's imprisonment and urged the Egyptian authorities to drop charges against him. Amnesty says he was imprisoned merely for doing his job as a photojournalist.

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