After five months of detention, photojournalist Esraa El-Taweel was released Saturday, conditionally according to her lawyer Haleem Henish, who told Daily News Egypt she will be under scrutiny until the next court session in 45 days.
“Every time she goes outside her house, she is required to send a prior notice to the police station,” he said. Her release procedures on Saturday midnight were smooth and she will resume her physiotherapy course next week, he added.
The Cairo Criminal Court decided Saturday to release El-Taweel, 23, on health grounds after she was arrested on charges of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and reporting false news that “harms national security”.
Her family is wary of giving further details on her release since it was conditional, but they also fear any potential misinterpretation, the defence lawyer added.
Minutes before El-Taweel was released from the Police Academy in Torah, her mother Hanaa A. Said: “I am thankful for her release, even though it is conditional. Esraa is much smaller than the charges given to her and I have faith she will be completely released in the upcoming session.”
Local rights groups have also welcomed the release of El-Taweel Saturday after outrage at her arrest, since her detention location remained unknown for the first two weeks. The outrage increased when photos depicting her crying inside the court room in November went viral across social media platforms.
During El-Taweel’s detention, she received little by way of medical treatment or was not allowed to see her family except for short durations and in maximum security, according to her mother.
El-Taweel’s detention was renewed several times since her arrest in early June. She took a bullet injury to her leg and spine while taking photos during a protest on the anniversary of the 25 January Revolution in 2012.
Health conditions inside detention facilities have been worsening at alarming levels, as the rates of arrests majorly increased in the wake of banning the Brotherhood, which has caused overcrowding and the deaths of dozens of detainees and prisoners.
Former parliamentary speaker and Brotherhood leader Saad Al-Katanti was also transferred to a hospital Thursday amid heavy security measures for medical treatment.