New York, August 25, 2016 – The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Egyptian media reports that President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi might release a number of imprisoned journalists ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday, which this year falls on September 11. Award-winning photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, better known as Shawkan, is among those who might be released, according to reports citing Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights.
“This is an opportunity for President Sisi to right a terrible wrong,” CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said. “Being a photojournalist does not make Shawkan a criminal. He has not been convicted of a crime but has spent the past three years behind bars. We urge the President to release him and all Egyptian journalists jailed for nothing more than gathering news.”
Shawkan, who has been jailed for more than three years, is the recipient of CPJ’s 2016 International Press Freedom Award. CPJ is hosting an exhibition of Shawkan’s photographs in New York City in September.