Young photographer whose tears moved Egypt released from jail

A young photographer whose alleged abduction by secret police helped her become a cause celebre in Egypt this year was  ordered freed from prison while her trial continues.

The Cairo Criminal Court, which is trying Esraa al-Taweel on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization and publishing false news, ordered her release on health grounds.

Al-Taweel, 23, has difficulty walking due, her family says, to a gunshot injury she received as police broke up a demonstration in Cairo two years ago.

Pictures of al-Taweel being assisted from a prison van by officers and weeping at her first court hearing in November caused a wave of anger on Egyptian social media.

Her case had already made waves after her family launched a social media campaign in June when, they said, she disappeared after going out for the evening with two friends.

The Interior Ministry promised to look into reports of her disappearance, but two weeks later she turned up in prison.

According to newspaper reports, prosecutors have accused her of membership of the Muslim Brotherhood and plotting to conceal a bomb in her camera in order to assassinate an unnamed high-ranking official.

Two male friends who went missing along with her and also turned up in detention two weeks later are currently being tried on terrorism charges before a military court.

The case of al-Taweel and her friends is the highest-profile in a series of cases where the feared National Security agency is accused of secretly arresting and holding suspects, leaving their families in the dark as to their fates.

The authorities deny that anybody is detained secretly.

Last update: Sat, 19/12/2015 - 14:49

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