State news agency says Esraa al-Taweel confessed to assassination plot
Courtesy: "Where is Esraa al-Taweel?" Facebook page

Detained student Esraa al-Taweel has allegedly confessed to conspiring to assassinate an unidentified official in a suicide mission, the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported Monday.

In her last appearance in court earlier this month, Taweel vehemently denied the charges against her after a judge renewed her pre-trial detention for another 45 days, sobbing as she begged the court to let her go home and receive medical treatment. Taweel’s family and lawyers argue she is being denied urgently needed medical care and could become permanently paralyzed as a result.

On Monday Taweel reportedly told the prosecution that she began working with members of the Muslim Brotherhood on the plot following the violent dispersal of the 2013 Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in.

The 23-year-old was arrested with her friends Sohaib Mohamed and Amr Ali outside a Cairo restaurant on June 1. She has now been jailed for over three months on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization and disseminating false information to foreign entities.

Following Taweel’s arrest, her whereabouts were unknown for two weeks until she was sighted at Qanater Women’s Prison, where she remains to this day. Her pre-trial detention has repeatedly been extended pending investigations.

MENA claimed that Taweel confessed to participating in several Muslim Brotherhood protests following the Rabea dispersal, and conspiring to assassinate a top official to avenge the death of her friend Asmaa al-Beltagy, who was killed at Rabea. 

Taweel allegedly told prosecutors that a female Muslim Brotherhood member she met in September or October 2013 proposed that she go to a wedding the targeted official was attending with an explosive device hidden in her camera, MENA reported.

In her purported confession, Taweel said she initially agreed to the plan but objected to it being a suicide mission.

According to MENA, Taweel also told prosecutors that Mohamed, who was arrested with her in June, planted cameras inside the building where the official worked to assist in the plan.

Taweel was shot in the back on January 25, 2014, when security forces dispersed a protest marking the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising. The bullet inflicted a debilitating spinal injury that temporarily paralyzed her legs. She was confined to a wheelchair for several weeks, but as she received intensive medical treatment and physical therapy, she was gradually able to walk with the aid of crutches. Her family says that progress is being undone due to medical neglect in detention.

The Doctors Syndicate has repeatedly requested permission to visit her in Qanater Women’s Prison to assess her condition. 


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