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Court clears Al-Azhar students after 3 years in custody

Ahram Online , Wednesday 28 Dec 2016
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An Egyptian appeals court on Wednesday quashed the convictions of a group of students from Al-Azhar University, after they spent three years in custody on violence-related charges, their lawyer said.

Thirteen students, including five women, were cleared of the charges against them, including belonging to a banned group — a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood — sabotage and protesting without license, defence lawyer Faysal Al-Sayed told Ahram Online.

According to the lawyer, the convictions were reversed due to a lack of evidence in the case.

They were arrested in December 2013 and were initially sentenced to five years in prison.

The charges stem from protests that took place at Al-Azhar University in eastern Cairo in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

In May, the Court of Cassation, the country's highest appeals court, overturned the ruling and ordered a retrial before another court that cleared the defendants on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, another court upheld three-year jail terms against 13 other Al-Azhar students convicted on similar charges. They were also arrested in December 2013, a judicial source said. 

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