Human Rights Foundation HRF is no stranger to world news organizations like the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Economists, CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera. That’s because HFR advocates for Journalists rights around the globe; fights for their right and freedom to go wherever and to report and disseminate their stories to the world, and HFR fights for them when they are obstructed in doing so, which includes fighting for their release when jailed. Such is the case of Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abdel Shakour Abou Zeid Attitallah, who has been held in prison for nearly four years; restricted for a time to solitary confinement, and denied medicines. According to the United Nations office of the High Commissioner, Mr. Zeid, aka Shawkan was arrested while covering a story on the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, in 2013. His first trial, may come up in late March, it had been scheduled previously on February 5th. Mr. Zeid, among other things, was charged with “committing acts of terrorism” and “harming national unity,” according to the UN’s High Commissioners Office.
Meantime HFR has partnered with American University’s Law School and filed a complaint/petition to the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, as well as the Impact Litigation Project at AU’s Washington College of Law; to take action. “We ask the Working Group to determine Mr. Zeid’s detention to be arbitrary and call on the Egyptian regime to immediately release him, said HRF President Thor Halvorssen. Halvorssen, who founded the Human Rights Foundation, began his human rights advocacy journey, in 1989, in London, as an organizer against South Africa’s Apartheid regime. It’s important to note, as well that Halvorssen’ s father, an ambassador was falsely arrested, imprisoned and tortured in a Venezuelan jail, in 1993. She was among the wounded; one person died . . . So, Thor Halvorssen and HFR are keenly aware of the importance and profoundly invested in human rights for all.