Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, will tomorrow officially open Amnesty International’s exhibition of photographs by Egyptian photojournalist Shawkan at 1pm in Great St Mary’s Church. The exhibition is being organised by Cambridge City Amnesty group and it is in support of Shawkan (Mahmoud Abu Zeid), a photographer who has been in pre-trial detention since 2013. Shawkan was arrested in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, after taking photos of violent scenes during a sit-in demonstration.
Mr Zeichner is a long-time supporter of the human rights work undertaken by the campaigning organisation Amnesty International. In recent years, he has been involved in a number of human rights campaign including the “Truth for Giulio” campaign, which is seeking answers for Cambridge University student Giulio Regeni who was found brutally murdered in Cairo over two years ago.
Mr Zeichner says: “I am very happy to lend my support to Amnesty International Cambridge and another great campaign that is highlighting serious human right violations. I am sure that many residents will take the opportunity to see the work of Shawkan, who is an award winning photojournalist and clearly very talented.”
“It is extremely worrying that Shawkan has been imprisoned as a result of doing his job and documenting important political events occurring in Cairo. The length of time he has been in pre-trial detention is unacceptable and completely undermines basic principles of justice and human rights. I hope that the Government is raising Egypt’s human rights record during any bi-lateral discussions as a matter of great importance.”
Shawkan recently won the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize and his work is internationally recognised, having appeared in many publications, including Time magazine, Die Zeit and The Sun.
On 3 March 2018, the prosecutor called publicly for the death sentence for all 739 defendants involved in the court case arising from the repression of the 2013 sit-in – including Shawkan.
Liesbeth Ten Ham, Amnesty’s Regional Representative for East Anglia, said: “I hope that many people in Cambridge will enjoy seeing Shawkan’s photographs which were taken in Cairo in the two years prior to l his arrest in August 2013. They show daily life as well as the tense political atmosphere. We hope that many will be inspired to sign our letter to the Egyptian government and that he will be promptly released.”