World Bulletin / News Desk
Radwa Shalabi was jubilant when her parents had finally agreed to let her attend a special graduation ceremony with her colleagues to celebrate the end of six years of hard study in the Nuclear and Radiation Engineering Department of Alexandria's Faculty of Engineering.
But the 22-year-old fresh graduate was unable to make it to the ceremony last Thursday.
Instead, she was sentenced to 11 years in jail over charges of thuggery and possession of firearms.
Radwa she was not alone.
She was one of 14 women and girls slapped with the same jail terms for "illegal assembly and joining a banned group" after demonstrating against the army's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi.
"We initially told her she would still make it to the graduation party because we thought that in the worst-case scenario she would be released on bail," her sister, Sara, told Anadolu Agency.
"But the entire family was dumbfounded by the jail sentence," she added, tearfully.
In the same week of her arrest, Radwa and nine colleagues in the nuclear engineering department in Alexandria University were honored by a local Rotary club for designing a model mini-nuclear plant as their graduation project.
"Radwa was one of the best on the team," professor Youssri Abu Shadi, a former chief inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency who supervised the graduation project, told AA.
"She was instrumental to the project's success," he added, recalling Radwa's enthusiasm to translate his entire design program from English into Arabic.
Despite the 11-year jail term, Radwa remains steadfast and determined not to allow jail stand in the way of her dreams.
"When we met she was unexpectedly composed," her mother told AA.
"For a second I thought she did not yet been told about the court ruling, but then I found out that she already had," she recalled.
Although she was unable to attending her graduation party, Radwa is determined to pursing her bigger dreams.
"She has always dreamt of being a nuclear scientist and she is now keener to realize her dream," said Radwa's mother.
"Radwa has decided to pursue her MA and we have already brought her the literature and references she needs."
Radwa's father, an award-winning electrical engineering professor with over 160 academic papers, is confident that his daughter would one day realize her dreams.
"I always told her that the road to success is blanketed with thorns," he told AA.
"I know that one day she would become Egypt's most accomplished nuclear scientist."Last Mod: 02 Aralık 2013, 12:31