The Cairo Criminal Court acquitted Sunday five Al-Azhar University students of charges of rioting and torching the examination marking room of the Faculty of Engineering in January 2014.
The court justified the ruling by saying it will not settle for such “vague evidence” against the defendants, and held the prosecution accountable for “flawed investigations”.
“The court is not assured by the evidence presented, which implicates the students of deliberately burning exam papers and students’ results. The prosecution should have gone to the location at the time of the incident to examine the damages.”
The court’s reasoning also highlighted its doubts regarding conflicting witnesses’ testimonies, further calling into question the investigation results of the National Security Apparatus in this incident.
“The CDs presented included footage of a protest at Al-Azhar University, without specifying the date or timing, and none of the defendants appeared in the videos, therefore the charges handed to them are not applicable,” the court concluded.
The five students were charged with setting fire to public property, assaulting security forces, protesting and threatening national security in January 2014.
In November 2014, the defendants were referred to a military court, but then the court referred it back to the Cairo Criminal Court, as it deemed the case to fall out of the military court’s jurisdiction.