Cairo: 11 October 2018

The Arabic Network for Human Right Information (ANHRI) said, today, that the police state in Egypt continues to achieve victories one after the other. After beating the record in prolonged pretrial detention making it last for years, the state has started off a new episode of depriving prisoners of conscience who have already served their sentences from being released, the last of which is the winner of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as “Shawkan”.

Shawkan, sentenced to five years in prison on 8 September, had already spent -to that date- five years and 24 days in prison since his arrest on 14 August 2013. Rather than releasing him immediately, he remains in custody until today, having served five years and 57 days without release, out of which 33 days come after the verdict was handed down to him.

ANHRI said, “The Rabaa al-Adawiya Sit-in Dispersal case, in which Shawkan was sentenced to prison along with more than 700 other defendants, has seen numerous severe blows to the rule of law and values of justice. The first blow came when officials, officers, and soldiers had been excluded in the indictment or the formal statement of accusations, despite the hundreds of victims who fell on 14 August 2013, the day the sit-in was dispersed. The second blow is that hundreds of defendants had already exceeded the maximum period of pretrial detention by law. And finally, those who already served their full sentences are being deprived of the right to be released, in a blatant disregard of the judiciary decisions. We really should congratulate the police regime and its accomplices on such victories! ”

ANHRI added, “As usual, the Egyptian regime turns a blind eye to the blatant violations of the law, yet it gets angry with those who speak up about such violations or criticize them, accusing them of undermining Egypt’s reputation. We cannot consider this a victory, but we see it as an absence of logic and any kind of human values. Free prisoners of conscience. Free Shawkan and everyone like Shawkan languishing in prisons”.

To read more information about Shawan in Katib website: