Abu Zeid, who is also known as Shawkan, has been held in Tora Prison in Egypt since 2013, with no clear end in sight.
A freelancer, Shawkan worked for several photo agencies, including Demotix. When the Arab Spring revolutions reached Egypt in 2011, he began covering the protests.
On August 14, the military announced an operation to clear the square. Shawkan decided to document the event. Although his brother warned him against going, Shawkan replied by saying: “It’s my life and it’s my job.”
“It’s my life and it’s my job”
Jailed for his passion for photography, #Shawkan has been imprisoned in #Egypt since 2013. I call on Egyptian authorities to #FreeShawkan and all other journalists behind bars! #PressEgypt #JournalismIsNotACrime
In December 2015, a letter Shawkan wrote was smuggled out of prison. In it, he says that Egypt has lost the meaning of the word “fairness” and that the situation had made him feel “full of hopelessness”.
In a different letter, he referenced his Egyptian citizenship as a factor in his never-ending pre-trial detention. Two foreign journalists, Mike Giglio and Louis Jammes, were working together with Shawkan on the day of the Rabaa Square dispersal. All three were arrested and taken to the stadium together. While both Giglio and Jammes were interrogated, they were freed after several hours. Shawkan remains in prison.
“The problem is that I am Egyptian, just an Egyptian journalist”, he wrote in the letter.