Photojournalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada, along with twelve other defendants, was acquitted of all charges Wednesday in the Al-Azhar University clashes case.
The detainees were accused of engaging in violent protests and setting fire to Al-Azhar University’s Faculty of Commerce in December 2013.
The Cairo Criminal Court also sentenced 63 other defendants to between a year and seven years imprisonment.
Of these, 27 convicted received seven-year prison sentences, 23 received five-year sentences, three were handed three years in prison, while 10 convicted will serve one-year sentences.
In previous sessions, defence lawyers argued that the defendants had nothing to do with the case because they were present at the incidents, and were arrested randomly throughout the day.
Ziada, a photojournalist for Yaqeen News Network, was assigned to cover protests in the university when he was arrested by security forces.
The photojournalist initiated two hunger strikes during his detention, which lasted for more than 480 days, in protest of his unjustified detention.
Ziada’s name was among ten journalists mentioned by the international Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in a letter addressing Egypt’s presidency, demanding the immediate correction of the status of journalists in Egypt.
In March, Ziada accused Abu Za’abal prison authorities of torturing and beating him for three days. Later in the month, the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) paid a visit to the prison where they met Ziada and cited traces of beating on his back.
The accusations were denied by Ministry of Interior officials as then-Minister of Interior’s assistant for Human Rights Affairs Abu Bakr Abdel Karim denied that prisoners had been subject to torture or even beating. He stated the alleged torture victim Ziada did not have traces of beating, but had instead a birthmark on his back.