The United States Showcases Egyptian Talent While Al Sisi Keeps Him Behind Bars

Ahmed Abu Seif accepts NPC award on behalf of jailed photojournalist, Shawkan.
Ahmed Abu Seif accepts NPC award on behalf of jailed photojournalist, Shawkan.
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* Chicago - Illinois - US

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CHICAGO - Sept. 27, 2016 - PRLog -- Free Shawkan wishes to thank the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Bronx Documentary Center, Photoville, and the National Press Club for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of Shawkan.

"At a time when Egypt is doing everything to shut down journalists, it is so gratifying that these important and influential organizations are showcasing Shawkan's extraordinary photos of important news events in Egypt. We can only hope that the light that the rest of the world is shining on Shawkan will help open Egypt's eyes and hearts. Shawkan must be freed now. Journalism is not a crime," said Ahmed Abu Seif, Executive Director of Free Shawkan.

One of Egypt's most prominent young photographic talents, Shawkan, is being honored across the United States this month, while he remains behind bars in Cairo after being arrested while on assignment as a photo journalist.

Earlier in September, Shawkan's work was featured in an exhibit hosted by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Bronx Documentary Center in New York.

The photo exhibit was so well received that it was also shown at Photoville, a temporary exhibit under the Brooklyn Bridge.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists:

"In mid-September, CPJ partnered ( with the Bronx Documentary Center to hold an exhibition of photographs taken by Mahmoud Abou Zeid, or Shawkan, a freelance journalist who has been imprisoned in Egypt since August 2013. Many of Shawkan's photos--from protests and celebrations in Tahrir Square to daily life in Cairo--were taken during the Egyptian revolution.

"CPJ used Facebook Live to record the event, and we broadcast it live to viewers around the world. The video has been seen more than 64,000 times in places like Iraq (29,000 views) and Algeria (nearly 18,000 views).

"Part of the exhibition is now being featured at Photoville, an annual photo festival that brings together photographers from all over the world. Photoville, which runs from September 21 to September 25, is being held in the Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, directly under the bridge in DUMBO.

"Shawkan was detained while covering Egyptian security forces' violent dispersal of a Cairo sit-in protesting the military's removal of President Mohamed Morsi. The journalist was held for more than two years before being charged with weapons possession, illegal assembly, murder, and attempted murder. He has denied all of the charges, and his trial has been repeatedly postponed."

Shawkan was also honored by the National Press Club (NPC) in Washington, DC with the John Aubuchon National Press Freedom Award given to award his journalistic courage.

According to the NPC President Thomas Burr, "Shawkan's case exemplifies the draconian way Egyptian authorities have cracked down on the press. Egypt is one of the world's top jailers of news professionals, and the situation there is not improving."

The Cairo government receives more than $1 billion a year in U.S. military aid.

For more information on the effort to Free Shawkan, please visit:
Twitter: @ShawkanZeid (

Ahmed Abu Seif
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Tags:Egypt, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights
Location:Chicago - Illinois - United States
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