Esraa El-Taweel, the young photojournalist who disappeared earlier in June, will face prosecution Monday, on charges that her defence team are still unaware of.
Mohamed Al-Baqr, a human rights lawyer on El-Taweel’s defence team, told Daily News Egypt: “Esraa is currently in pre-trial detention. Her detention was renewed yesterday and tomorrow she will be investigated in front of the prosecution.”
According to Al-Baqr, El-Taweel will face charges of “belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and spreading false news through her social media account”, but it is unclear what these accusations will focus on.
Al-Baqr said his team only learned of the charges verbally through legal sources, not through the state security prosecution, who commonly deal with cases of terrorism, as the defence cannot see the official police and prosecution reports until they go to court.
El-Taweel appeared in Al-Qanater’s women prison after having disappeared for over two weeks at the beginning of June. She was amongst a wave of disappearances that saw numerous individuals, with connections to revolutionary or Islamist politics, taken illegally by security forces.
A Ministry of Interior spokesperson previously denied police forcibly take individuals in this manner, telling Daily News Egypt that Egypt’s police forces are currently not targeting young people, regardless of their political stances and positions.
“We have been able to talk with her since she appeared in prison. She said that during the fifteen days she did not know where she was and was not allowed contact with family or lawyers. She only slept, ate and was interrogated. She was blindfolded for the entire period,” Al-Baqr said.
On 1 June, El-Taweel and two friends, Omar Ali and Sohaib Saad Al-Haddad, were taken while they were having dinner in Maadi. It has been reported that Ali is at Al-Aqrab prison and Al-Haddad is at Tora prison.
Sohaib is one of five students standing trial in the Al Jazeera case, charged with conspiring with the Qatari media network’s journalists. The defendants maintain they have no relationships with anyone from the outlet.
During the third anniversary of the 25 January Revolution in 2013, El-Taweel was struck by a bullet hitting her leg and spine while taking photos during a protest. She spent five months in bed and used a wheelchair for six months. She had lately begun to use a crutch, according to family members.
“She is suffering from an injury in her leg and requires physiotherapy,” lawyer Al-Baqr told Daily News Egypt on Sunday. “She is supposed to have treatment three times a week and take medication daily, but she has not had any health care in 27 days.”
El-Taweel’s sister, Duaa, previously said: “If my sister stays for one more month without physiotherapy she will be paralysed again…The cell where she is detained is very crowded, and it makes her suffer breathing problems as it has up to 38 prisoners, all on criminal charges.”
Cases of individuals believed to have been abducted by security forces continue to emerge as activists and family members circulate information online, mainly through social media.