Mahmoud Abu Zeid

The family and lawyer of a prominent Egyptian photo-journalist say he has been released after five years in prison.

Mahmoud Abu Zaid see, a photo-journalist known as “Shawkan”, was convicted for involvement in a 2013 sit-in protest by Islamists that was broken up by security forces in an operation that left hundreds dead.

His lawyer, Taher Abuel-Naser, says he was released from a police station in the Giza neighbourhood in Cairo on Monday morning. His family confirmed his release.

Egypt under general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has launched an unprecedented assault on journalists in recent years, imprisoning dozens and occasionally expelling some foreign journalists.

An Australian journalist, Peter Greste, was arrested with two other journalists, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, in December 2013 when working for Al Jazeera English. Greste as sentenced to seven years’ jail but was released in 2015 after an international campaign that portrayed them as political prisoners. The others were not immediately released.

A court ordered Shawkan’s release in September after he served five years, but he remained behind bars as authorities said his release was being processed.

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