Detained Egyptian journalist's 'health deteriorating'

Mahmoud Abu Zied, who is in jail for nearly two years without charge, needs better care, his lawyer says.

    Detained Egyptian journalist's 'health deteriorating'
    Shawkan was arrested in August 2013 while covering the security crackdown on supporters of Mohamed Morsi in Cairo [AP]

    The health of detained Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zied, known as "Shawkan", is "deteriorating day-after-day", his lawyer has said.

    In comments published on the Free Shawkan Facebook page, Kareem Abdel-Radi said on Monday he would ask for better conditions and health care for his client at Tora prison located on the outskirts of Cairo.

    Shawkan, 27, has been diagnosed with the Hepatitis C virus, according to information on his supporters' Facebook page.

    He was arrested in August 2013 while covering the security crackdown on supporters of Mohamed Morsi in Cairo's Rabaa al Adawiya Square. The protest was against the detention of Morsi - Egypt’s first democratically elected leader - who was later removed as president in a military coup.

    The Egytptian journalist, who has been called a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, has not been officially charged with any crime, according to Ahramonline website.

    The UK based Amnesty has demanded his unconditional release.

    In his latest letter from prison posted on the Facebook page, he writes: "Despair penetrated my red blood cells and kidney, my brain rejects sleeping and my body sweats continuously. Losing consciousness for a few minutes became a habit on a daily basis.

    "My weak body, full of disease, became helpless to continue bearing hard imprisonment for two years, without any guilt except bearing my camera to shoot events with neutrality and objectivity."

    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has jailed thousands of opponents since he came to power after deposing Morsi in a coup.

    Critical voices have been gagged, and a draft anti-terrorism law that was passed last week will make it even difficult for journalists to operate in the country.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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