Civil society stands in solidarity with jailed photojournalist facing death penalty


The human rights community has demonstrated solidarity with photojournalist Shawkan Zeid within the social media campaign - #MyPicForShawkan. Zeid has been in prison since 2013 and now faces the death penalty for his photojournalism work covering protests. International media watchdogs and the local group Al Karama have called for his immediate and unconditional release, reminding the authorities that "photojournalism is not a crime".

As reported by Ahram Online, the Journalists' Syndicate of Egypt condemned recent fines and penalties imposed on media channels Al-Masry Al-Youm and Masr Al-Arabiya (a news website) for publishing a translation of a New York Times report on alleged violations during the 2018 presidential election. The chief editor of the website, Adel Sabry, was detained on 9th April in connection with the translated article. Following the incident, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) denounced "the retaliatory measures taken by Egyptian authorities against the independent news website Masr al-Arabia for its coverage of the presidential elections". CPJ also called on the authorities "to release the website's editor".

In continued solidarity and support of Egyptian human rights defenders and groups, the Amnesty International Human Rights Award was given to the Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture in Cairo. Presented on 16th April, the award is also a reflection of the international community's stance against torture in Egypt. In a statement, Amnesty International noted that:

“The Nadeem Centre’s staff provide medical and psychological care to torture survivors under the most difficult of conditions, and [bring] to light the grave human rights abuses that are being perpetrated”.

On another note, as previously covered by the CIVICUS Monitor, developments in regards to the cybercrime law continue to pose threats to civic space. As Mada Masr reported "the bill would set a precedent in regulating web censorship" as it would allow the authorities to control content placed on social media. At the time of writing, the bill was under consideration in Parliament.