Detained Egyptian journalist in critical condition

Mahmoud Abu Zeid, aka ‘Shawkan,’ in dire need of medical help he is not receiving inside Egyptian jail

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The health of the detained Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zied, also known by his alias "Shawkan," is "deteriorating day-after-day," his lawyer has said.

Shawkan has been detained without trial since August 2013, after covering the brutal dispersal of demonstrations against the country's military-backed regime in Cairo's Rabaa Square on August 14 of that year. The UK-based Amnesty International has demanded his unconditional release.

Kareem Abdel-Radi, Shawkan’s lawyer, said on Monday that better conditions and health care should be provided for his client at Tora prison, located on the outskirts of Cairo.

Shawkan, 27, has been diagnosed with the Hepatitis C virus, according to information on his supporters' Facebook page.

A letter was written by Shawkan from inside his prison cell. It reads: "Despair has penetrated my red blood cells and kidney, my brain rejects sleeping and my body sweats continuously. Losing consciousness for a few minutes has become a habit on a daily basis.

"My weak body, full of disease, became helpless to continue bearing hard imprisonment for two years, without any guilt except bearing my camera to shoot events with neutrality and objectivity."

Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, who was deposed in a coup in July 2013, was sentenced to death on May 15, along with over 120 other defendants, all belonging to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, to which Morsi also belongs.

Morsi was elected as president in Egypt’s first democratic elections in June 2012. A year later calls for him to leave office emerged and millions took to the streets, demanding early elections. However, a brutal military crackdown forced Morsi out of office which was followed by the bloody dispersal of the pro Brotherhood camps at Rabaa and Nahda.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the dispersals of the camps, and since July 3, 2013, hundreds of Brotherhood members or sympathisers have been arrested and given a range of sentences including the death penalty and life imprisonment.

TRTWorld and agencies