Mahmoud Abou Zeid, a 31-year-old photojournalist also known by the alias Shawkan, is among more than 700 individuals currently facing a death sentence in Cairo. According to Reporters without Borders, Shawkan and the others were arrested in connection with the anti-government protests that took place in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in August 2013.

On March 3rd, the prosecution in the trial requested that all 700+ individuals, including Shawkan, be sentenced to the maximum penalty of death by hanging. Charges lobbed against the entire collective include accusations of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood, attempted murder, murder, and more.

Shawkan, however, was merely covering the protests as part of his job. The photojournalist was reportedly working on assignment for Demotix, a British photo agency, when he was arrested on August 14th, 2013.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is aware of Shawkan's arrest, which it has classified as arbitrary. According to a report from the group, Shawkan was held without charges or trial until March 2016. The group states that Shawkan has been deprived of medical treatment, adequate access to his lawyer, and due process... among other things.

Reporters without Borders has called for Shawkan's release, also noting that RSF's World Press Freedom Index ranks Egypt among the lowest in the world.