The Cairo Criminal Court adjourned on Tuesday the trial of 739 defendants in the case known as “Rabaa dispersal” to 17 January. The defendants in the case include Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan.
The court ordered the release of 10 defendants over health issues. Shawkan’s brother previously told Daily News Egypt that Shawkan’s health is deteriorating. However, Shawkan was not among the released defendants.
The defendants are facing charges of vandalism, attempted murder, planning an armed insurrection, and belonging to an outlawed group, among other charges.
Earlier this month, the second round of the “Shawkan Photo Awards” competition was launched and is currently receiving applications. The first round had been concluded in January with photojournalist Islam Osama winning the first place for capturing the moment political activist Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh was shot dead. The competition is held in honour of Shawkan and to remind other photojournalists of his detention.
The trial of the defendants has been ongoing since December 2015, with no results. Shawkan and his co-defendants in the case have stayed in pretrial detention for more than two years before their trials started, which does not comply with Egypt’s penal code stipulating that remand period should not exceed two years.
The Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in was violently dispersed by the armed forces in August 2013, and hundreds were arrested, most of which are currently being tried. The protesters were demonstrating against the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Shawkan was arrested among other journalists who were later released; however, the arbitrariness against him continues despite filing all the required documents to the court that prove that he was assigned to cover the sit-in dispersal.