Academy's Amnesty International Group raises awareness of jailed photojournalist in Egypt

A school's Amnesty International group has taken on the case of a jailed photojournalist in Egypt.

Monday, 13th February 2017, 9:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:01 am
North Oxfordshire Academy's Amnesty International group in front of their campaign cards to free photojournalist Shawkan, with Becki Smith, the school's multi-faith chaplain. NNL-171002-142438001

Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, has been held in prison for three years, without a trial, after taking photos of a sit-in in Egypt.

The Amnesty International group at North Oxfordshire Academy has been running an awareness campaign over the past week, called Write for Rights.

Shawkan was capturing the scene of a sit in, when tanks and security forces swept in.

When the police found out Shawkan was a journalist, he was arrested and beaten up.

He was among hundreds arrested, including an American and French journalist who were released soon after due to their nationality.

Shawkan has now been detained for more than three years in a four square metre prison sell with 12 other political prisoners, in contravention of Egyptian law.

He has anaemia and hepatitis C, but his family says he has been denied adequate medication.

In March 2016 he was accused of nine charges by a public prosecution official at a Cairo court hearing and if convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Before the trial, his lawyers were denied access to key documents related to the case, including the charges sheet

As part of the Write for Rights campaign, the Amnesty group has shared Shawkan’s story with the school and invited students to write messages of solidarity on the back of cards, which feature a camera drawn by a member of the group.

The group has raised the postage money and will be sending the 400 cards collected directly to Shawkan in prison to show both Shawkan, and government officials that he has not been forgotten and people around the world are demanding his release.

His case is one of 12 which are part of the national Amnesty International Group’s campaign.