Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan)


Detained Since: August 14, 2013.

Charges: Murder, attempted murder and membership of a banned organization (the Muslim Brotherhood).

Sentence: Five years in prison, already served.

Biography: Mahmoud Abou Zeid, also known as Shawkan, is an Egyptian journalist and photographer who often depicts daily cultural life and produces street portraits. He has contributed to publications such as Time Magazine, Die Zeit, BILD, Media Group, and online photo agency, Demotix.

Abou Zeid was arrested on August 14, 2013 while covering the dispersal of the Rab’a Al Adweya sit-in along with two other journalists: Louis Jammes, a French photographer and Mike Giglio, a US reporter working for the Daily Beast. The two other journalists were released because of their foreign citizenship and passports, but Abou Zeid was kept in custody, where he has been beaten, tortured, and denied medical care.

In September 2015 after more than two years of pretrial detention, Abou Zeid's case was referred to a Cairo criminal court for trial. The photographer, along with more than 700 others arrested in connection with the Rab'a sit-in, was charged with weapons possession, illegal assembly, murder, and attempted murder, according to court documents. On March 3, 2018, prosecutors requested  the “maximum penalty” – death by hanging – for Abou Zeid and his more than 700 co-defendents. He is currently being held in Cairo's Tora Prison.

On September 8, 2018, Abou Zeid was sentenced to five years in prison, already served. He was released to harsh probation terms on March 4, 2019.

Mahmoud Abou Zeid has been RELEASED, but is subject to a five year probation term that requires him to spend the hours of 6:00 PM through 6:00 AM at a police station every night.

Advocate: Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)

Advocacy Partner: Reporters Without Borders