PARIS – The United Nations’ cultural agency has ignored warnings from Egypt and awarded the World Press Freedom prize to an imprisoned Egyptian photographer.
A jury on Monday awarded the honor to Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, who has been in jail since he was arrested in Cairo in August 2013 for covering a demonstration at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry strongly warned UNESCO against the move Sunday, saying that Shawkan faces terror-related charges.
The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions says Shawkan’s arrest is arbitrary and his continued detention infringes his human rights.
Jury President Maria Ressa said the award, which recognizes the promotion of press freedom especially in the face of danger, “pays tribute to his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.”