A fair investigation is needed into the incident of a high school student being detained for possession of a ruler with bearing the “Rabaa” sign, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said.
A Balteem Secondary Industrial School student, Khaled Mohamed Baqara, 15 , was detained for possessing a ruler displaying both Rabaa and Anti Coup Alliance insignia.
“He is accused of possessing the ruler and has been detained since 25 November, with his detention being renewed for another 15 days,” according to the boy’s father, Mohamed Abdel Ghany Baqara.
Arrest warrants for the father and two of the student’s teachers, Ashraf Asslan and Hamido Al-Kheish, were also issued by Kafr Al-Sheikh Prosecution on Saturday. They are wanted for “inciting the student to carry the ruler to school.”
ANHRI demanded that the student and father be released, that all charges against them be dropped and that they not face further prosecution. The group also requested that their safety be guaranteed, and called for the release of “all those detained for peacefully expressing their opinions”.
The Rabaa insignia on the ruler refers to a square in Cairo, known as Rabaa Al-Adaweya which hosted a sit-in of supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi . The 14 August dispersal of the sit-in killed and injured hundreds.
ANHRI said the Rabaa sign has various interpretations, “such as demanding investigations into the dispersal of the sit-in or it could serve as a memorial for the victims of the dispersal, or it could be a show of support for former president Mohamed Morsi… people carrying the symbol should not be punished.”
“The law does not punish opinions or expressing them,” ANHRI said.
According to Baqara, the incident started when a passing teacher found his son in possession of the ruler. The student was taken to the headmaster who called security. He was then escorted to the police station where a complaint was filed.
Amr Aly Al-Din, a lawyer representing the student, said that the teacher asked that the student stop using the ruler but the student persisted. This prompted the teacher to go through the student’s bag only to find two additional notebooks also bearing the Rabaa insignia.