Al-Azhar University student Sarah Khaled, who was detained nine months ago for wearing a Rabaa pin, was acquitted Wednesday, according to her lawyer Negad el-Borai Thursday.
An appeals court ruled Khaled, a dentistry student originally sentenced to two years and six months in prison, was not guilty of participating in Al-Azhar University protests on Jan. 5.
“The first court solely depended on the investigations of the prosecution, while the appeals court abolished the verdict after it determined Sarah was randomly detained near the protest,” Borai told The Cairo Post.
News media outlets and social media reported that during her imprisonment Khaled was subjected to deliberate physical assaults by prison staff and other prisoners. Her mother Mervet told Al Jazeera, “My daughter is facing the most severe types of violations at Qanater Prison,” according to a YouTube video posted Sept. 16.
Mervet added that her daughter’s face became “pale” and her weight dropped to only 40 kilograms.
“She was a beautiful girl, her face full of hope and life, but she turned into a skeleton after a deadly starvation during her imprisonment,” wrote political activist and former PM Mostafa el-Naggar in an opinion article in Al-Masry Al-Youm on June 30, 2014.
Under duress from prison, she was said to have screamed during one of her trial sessions, “I am dying… I cannot eat or drink or sleep… The criminal [prisoners] are taking my food and stuff.”
However, Borai actually denied his client faced systematic abuses and that an incident in which Khaled was injured was only “due to clashes between political prisoners affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and criminal prisoners, and she got hurt.”
Borai’s statements were also said by Khaled herself to a delegation of the State-backed National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) visiting the Qanater prison on July 7. She complained against how they were inspected by prison staff, especially following this incident, and called it “inhumane.”
In its report, the NCHR reported that there was “no presence of torture cases inside Qanater Women’s Prison,” as quoted by Al-Watan newspaper July 9.