The trial was adjourned today because the prison authorities failed to transport the defendants to the courtroom. The forensic doctor’s report is finally in the court’s hands.
Aged 29, Shawkan is facing a possible death sentence just for covering the use of force by the security forces to break up a demonstration by supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square on 14 August 2013. He was on assignment for the British photo agency Demotix at the time.
He is charged with attempted murder and membership of a banned organization (the Muslim Brotherhood) among other accusations.
He has been held ever since his arrest on the day of the demonstration. His trial alongside 738 other defendants – most of them Muslim Brotherhood members – is highly sensitive. It should have begun in December 2015 but did not get under properly until March 2016.
Both Shawkan’s physical and psychological condition have declined dramatically in prison. RSF calls not only for his immediate release but also the withdrawal of all the charges against him.
Egypt is one of the world’s biggest prisons for journalists and is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.