CAIRO: The alleged confession of Esraa el-Taweel to having plotted to assassinate a senior state official is “false” and part of a “smear campaign” against her, her lawyer told The Cairo Post.
Taweel, who is a 23yr-old amateur photojournalist, was arrested in June, and faces charges of belonging to unlawful organization, (the Muslim Brotherhood) and spreading “false news to disrupt national unity.”
She has been held on remand for around 160 days without standing trial.
Before her arrest, Taweel was recovering after being shot in her back during the second anniversary of the January 25 Revolution in 2014. She now cannot walk unassisted after her condition deteriorated due to lack of proper medical assistance in prison.
In a statement on Facebook, her defense team denied the so-called confessions as “fabrications” and “a smear campaign to break a broad sympathy with her.”
The new list includes additional charges of: spying, using a bomb camera, plotting for an assassination and participating in pro-Muslim Brotherhood protests.
MENA’s report said that Taweel acknowledged she agreed to partake in a plot to assassinate a high-ranking official after the 2013 dispersal of Rabaa el-Adawiya sit-in, “to avenge for the killing of her friend Asmaa el-Baltagy.”
According to the news agency, Taweel said she was planning to attend a wedding as a photographer, where the targeted official would also be attending, and then she would carry out the plot by using a bomb installed in a camera with the help of a friend called Sohaib Saad.
Taweel and Saad allegedly planned, in coordination with Taweel’ sister Doaa, to “plant spy cameras to record what happens inside a building that belongs to sovereignty bodies,” in order to be sent to pro-Muslim Brotherhood TV channels, but they were arrested before implementation.
Lawyers shocked of ‘claimed confessions’
Haleem Hanish, one of the defense team who attended Taweel’s investigations sessions, denies that his client has acknowledged any of the aforementioned crimes.
“If there is a possibility that the mentioned charges were originally listed inside the investigations records but not addressed, then this would indicate that the state security prosecution, which is entitled to draw the accusations in her case, might have ignored them for being trumped-up charges,” he told The Cairo Post.
Hanish went on saying that the defense team was not allowed to review the case’s documents, adding “why would the papers be handed to the media while we could not photocopy it?”
He noted that including the names of Taweel’s sister and Saad in the so-called confessions is confusing, since “none of them were interrogated over these crimes.”
Attempts to reach both Taweel’s sister, Doaa, and Saad for comment were not successful.
In June 1, Taweel went missing along with two of her friends, including Sohaib, and appeared two weeks later in Qanater prison for women. She wrote a letter in prison about how she was forcibly disappeared, held and interrogated at the headquarters of the homeland security authority.
Since then, her detention has been regularly renewed; the latest one was on Nov.2 for 45 days.
Another lawyer in the team, Mohamed el-Baqer, told The Cairo Post Tuesday that there is a “smear campaign mounted by state’s agencies to direct public opinion away from sympathizing with Taweel’s case and health condition,” especially after her latest appearance at court.
TV Anchor Ahmed Moussa attacked Taweel during his show on Sada el-Balad TV Channel Monday calling her a “terrorist” and urged the media not be moved by her case.
Pictures of Taweel weeping in court triggered a wide support from social media users, making a hashtag carrying her name #اسراء_الطويل listed among the top trending in Egypt after it attracted more than 30,000 tweets in a week.