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In Egypt, 'freedom' ends daily at 6pm for Shawkan and Abdelfattah

Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, arrives at his home after his release from prison, in Giza, Egypt, 4 March 2019
Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, arrives at his home after his release from prison, in Giza, Egypt, 4 March 2019

Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The following is an excerpt of a 2 April 20197 CPJ blog post by Sherif Mansour/CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator.

Relief over the release of Egyptian journalists Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, and Alaa Abdelfattah from prison last month has been clouded by the conditions of their freedom. "I am happy to see your joy over my release, but I am unfortunately not free," Abdelfattah wrote to his large following on social media yesterday. The journalist described the terms of his five-year probation period with police monitoring as "humiliating."

After five years in custody on anti-state charges, Abdelfattah was released on March 29, on condition that he stay overnight at a police station. Authorities imposed the same condition on Shawkan, an award-winning photojournalist and CPJ's 2016 International Press Freedom Awardee who also served over five and a half years in prison on arbitrary anti-state charges.

Both Abdelfattah and Shawkan have to report to a police station at 6 p.m. daily. It is left to the discretion of the officer on duty as to whether they spend the night in cells or just sign in and leave, though so far both have spent every night of their "freedom" behind bars.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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