Mohamed Abou Zeid, the brother of long-detained photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan), claimed he was unsure of his brother’s location after he was unable visit him last Wednesday.
On Saturday, Abou Zeid told Daily News Egypt over the phone: “I will go to the Tora prison complex on Monday to find out.”
He explained that he went to visit Shawkan in Tora prison where he is being held, but he was surprised to learn by prison authorities that the detainee was moved to one of the other prisons in the Tora complex.
“When I went to visit, I was kept waiting for a long time, even though I had registered my name early enough. First, I heard from some family members of Shawkan’s co-detainees that they had been transferred to another location,” Abou Zeid said.
He explained that he then inquired about the case and a prison official told him that Shawkan was transferred to a nearby Tora prison. Abou Zeid said he did not inform lawyers working on the case or contact the Press Syndicate for more information on his brother’s whereabouts.
The “Freedom for Shawkan” Facebook page reported his transfer on Wednesday, only stating that Shawkan was no longer staying in the same place.
Lawyer Taher Aboul Nasr, who is working on Shawkan’s case, told Daily News Egypt on Sunday that he was not informed about any prisoner’s transfer. When asked whether prison authorities should notify families in such cases, Abol Nasr said there was no legal obligation regarding the matter.
Shawkan was arrested during the dispersal of Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in on 14 August 2013 while covering the events. He was held in pre-trial detention for more than two years, after which he was referred to trial alongside more than 700 defendants accused in a case publicly known as the “Rabaa dispersal”.
They are facing several charges, which include belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organisation and using violence.