The Ministry of Interior issued a statement on Sunday night announcing the arrest of four of the “rioters” it said were responsible for the violence that took place in front of Cairo University on Sunday evening.
The statement said that security forces arrested the rioters for blocking the road and setting fire to a TV news van outside Cairo University’s main gate, adding that the rioters were students at an Al-Azhar-affiliated institute in Imbaba.
Students Against the Coup distanced itself from the clashes after the group coordinator at Cairo University, Adam Mohamed, had previously mentioned that the protest organised by the group on Sunday ended inside the university before clashes erupted outside, which the group claims it was not involved in.
The Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) reported Sunday evening that sympathisers of the 40 students, who were detained from Cairo University during the storming of the university last January, were assaulted and “arbitrarily arrested” by security forces at Giza Elementary Court after they chanted against the Ministry of Interior, only to be released two hours later.
AFTE added that its lawyer Mahmoud Othman, who was representing the students, was also assaulted, detained for a short while and then released.
Othman said that after the session ended and the students’ detention was renewed for 15 more days, the students’ sympathisers were not outside the court.
“Security personnel in plain clothes arrested me and a group of five I was talking to. I was handed to the responsible officer who let me go after threatening to arrest me in case he sees me again,” he added.
The detention of the students in custody had been extended several times since their arrest in January; they are accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation, premeditated murder, attempted murder, destroying public property, among other charges.
The detained students were arrested after clashes had erupted following a protest that took place on the same day on campus, organised by Students Against the Coup group. A number of students stormed the office of the dean of the Faculty of Law, after which protests continued outside the campus and escalated into clashes, prompting security forces to storm the campus.
A number of students were injured, including the son of University Chairman Gaber Gad Nassar, and one student was pronounced dead at Imbaba Hospital.
The Ministry of Interior accused the “Muslim Brotherhood students” of being responsible for the student’s death, while the Students Against the Coup spokesman accused the Ministry of Interior.
Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) lawyer Amr Hassan previously said that 42 students were detained on that day, 31 of whom were arrested on campus and 11 were arrested outside.
According to Hassan, such arrests were “arbitrary”, since the arrested students had no political affiliation. Instead, he said, they were taking their exams at the time and documents proving such were presented to the prosecution.
The ministry of interior was not available for comment.