“Save me”, began photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zied, in his letter of distress after almost 550 days of “illogical” detention.
Also known as Shawkan, the detained photojournalist described his imprisonment as “without logic, without trial, and without law. Just charges on paper”.
Arrested on 14 August, 2013, while covering the forced dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, Shawkan faces several charges. These include attempted murder, possession of weapons and ammunition, threatening public peace, disrupting the constitution, and sabotaging public and private property.
“Without logic, we were 900 accused, without logic we became 300,” stated his letter.
Without logic, Al Jazeera correspondent Abdullah Elshamy, who was with Shawkan in the same case, and in the same prison cell as well, was released, said the letter. Elshamy walked out of prison due to his deteriorating health, after over 306 days of detainment without charge, 147 days of them on hunger strike.
Elshamy was not released for the justice of law or the presence of an impartial investigation, but the presence of a major media organisation standing by him, said Shawkan.
Australian Al Jazeera correspondent Peter Greste’s release on Sunday is “without logic” as well, to be followed by half-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy. The latter worked as chief of Al Jazeera English’s bureau in Cairo, and was released after having dropped his Egyptian citizenship.
“Without logic” Baher Mohamed will remain in prison just for being an Egyptian.
“But do not worry Baher, Al Jazeera stands beside you,” Shawkan said.
Shawkan offered his condolences for himself and other Egyptian journalists who do not have another nationality or major institution standing alongside them.
The letter also added that during an investigation by a national security officer, the officer asked how foreign journalists are released on the same day of their arrest, while Shawkan has been imprisoned for all this period.
“There is a missing link,” the officer told Shawkan
“I felt he was making fun of me, because he certainly knows the answer … The missing link is that I am Egyptian. My problem is that I am merely an Egyptian journalist,” acknowledged Shawkan.
“If I had no choice but to drop my Egyptian nationality for my freedom I would have done so,” Shawkan disclosed in his letter, adding that he belongs neither to a political conflict nor to any group or political faction.
“I do not belong to anything but my profession, I am only a photojournalist,” Shawkan asserted.
“I do not know the reason for staying in jail all this time…Time is passing, and a life is being wasted between four walls,” he added.