The Cairo Criminal Court decided to release 23-year-old photojournalist Esraa El-Taweel on Saturday after six months in detention on health grounds
“Esraa will be released Sunday morning, but charges will remain,” her lawyer Haleem Henish told Daily News Egypt.
El-Taweel was charged with belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and publishing false reports that distort Egypt’s reputation, by the supreme court of Homeland Security.
Her detention has been renewed several times since her arrest. She was initially forcibly disappeared for two weeks after her arrest, before reappearing in Qanater prison for women. She has required treatment for a bullet injury that hit her leg and spine while taking photos during a protest on the anniversary of the 25 January Revolution in 2012.
Her detention was further renewed for 45 days in early November. Following the court session, an image of El-Taweel bursting into tears after hearing the decision went viral, sparking wide outrage.
On Saturday, the court security reportedly prevented photojournalists from taking photos of her, and they had her enter the court room through the back door.
Throughout her six months in detention, El-Taweel has been prevented from accessing medical treatment, according to family members.
According to her medical report issued by her personal doctor on 22 August, she has a live bullet in her spinal cord, as was revealed by an MRI examination. The doctor allowed her access to continue her physiotherapy and medical treatment to avoid further complications and a potential setback.
Despite the slight improvement in El-Taweel’s walking abilities the lack of physiotherapists in the prison’s hospital increased her health risks.
Health conditions inside detention facilities have been worsening at alarming levels as rates of arrests largely increased in the wake of banning the Brotherhood, causing over-crowding and the deaths of dozens of detainees and prisoners.