The case of photojournalist Mahmoud ‘Shawkan’ Abu Zeid has been adjourned until February six and his loved ones say they are seriously concerned about his physical and mental well being.
The delay comes amid new allegations of torture and abuse by Egypt’s security forces.
The 27-year-old was arrested whilst photographing demonstrations after the fall of president Mohammed Morsi in August 2013 and he has been held in a Cairo jail for over 850 days.
In September he was indicted for a range of offences and on the weekend he was due to face a Cairo court for the initial session of his trial.
Australian journalist Peter Greste has named for his immediate release.
When the young photographer’s brother, Mohammed Abu Zeid, first spoke to ABC in August, Shawkan Abu Zeid had spent over 700 days in jail without charge.
“We submitted appeals, no-a single listens or looks at the case,” Mohammed Abu Zeid stated.
“Each and every 45 days they renew his arrest.”
He stated his brother’s cell was three to four metres long and there was no health-related care for the prisoners.
“You wouldn’t even leave your dog in it. He was tortured.”
‘I can see the illness in his face’
Shawkan had already served lengthy past Egypt’s two-year cap on pre-trial detention, generating his continued imprisonment illegal.
But in September, Shawkan was all of a sudden indicted — charged with murder, attempted murder, protesting and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.
His brother Mohammed was at the court on Saturday for the 1st day of the trial and said he and his household do not know what to do.
“So we are really sad,” he said.
There’s no suggestion whatsoever that he was carrying out something untoward.
Peter Greste, Australian journalist.
Shawkan is accused alongside 700 other people who were allegedly in Rabba Square the day safety forces violently broke up a Muslim Brotherhood protest.
Now the judge has stated that he will not start off the trial until all 700 accused are in attendance in the court, and inside the cage Egyptian prisoners are forced to sit in.
Mohammed Zeid stated that the cage was not huge adequate to fit the defendants.
He mentioned he was also concerned about his brother’s physical and mental health.
“I can see the illness in his face,” he said.
“He has become so skinny since he is suffering from hepatitis C.
“He’s finished, extremely tired.”
Mr Greste, who spent 13 months in jail in Egypt, mentioned Shawkan’s case is very similar to his and that there was no evidence to show that Shawkan was doing anything other than his job as a journalist.
“He’s a respected photojournalist,” Mr Greste said.
“He’s worked for some very respectable news organizations, there is no suggestion whatsoever that he was carrying out something untoward.
“All the proof appears to be that he was picked up merely because he happened to be covering an event and he was caught up in a police sweep of the location.”
Mr Greste has called on Egyptian authorities to right away release Shawkan, saying he has been held for too long without any due approach.
“Now Egypt has continually insisted that it is a nation that respects freedom of speech, it respects the freedom of press and that is enshrined in its constitution,” he mentioned.
“If it wants to be taken seriously in that regard then it requirements to be seen to be guarding the rights of journalists like Shakwan, and not holding him in detention, they need to have to release him as quickly as feasible.”
Amnesty International says 14-year-old tortured in prison
Mohamed El Messiry, Amnesty International’s major researcher on Egypt, mentioned they are also calling on the Egyptian government to quickly release 14-year-old boy, Mazen Mohamed Abdallah.
Mazen Mohamed Abdallah was picked up by Egypt’s national safety forces and imprisoned for allegedly protesting with no authorisation on September 30.
The boy’s lawyers mentioned he has been tortured by the police.
“He was tortured, which includes by electrocuting him on his genitals,” they said.
“These are horrific and barbaric actions by the national security and we are calling for the instant [release] of the child and also to bring those accountable for torturing the kid to justice.”
On Saturday, in a rare penalty against members of the safety forces, two Egyptian policemen were sentenced to five years in jail each and every following they had been discovered guilty of torturing a lawyer to death in a police station in February this year.
But Mr El Messiry stated the sentence ought to have been amongst 5 and 15 years in detention.
“Nonetheless, the court often use the minimum sentence when they try and sentence police officers.”
Topics: prisons-and-punishment, world-politics, foreign-affairs, journalism, egypt