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Police stormed Al-Azhar University campus twice in April: AFTE - Daily News Egypt

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Police stormed Al-Azhar University campus twice in April: AFTE

Violations against students systematic and coordinated, says SAC spokesperson

Students clashed with security forces at Al-Azhar University following protests organised by Students Against the Coup in March 2014. (Photo by Ahmed Al-Malky)
Students clashed with security forces at Al-Azhar University following protests organised by Students Against the Coup in March 2014.
(Photo by Ahmed Al-Malky)

The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) released Tuesday its monthly report on violations in universities.

Documented violations include those perpetrated by security forces, administrative security personnel or Falcon personnel. This is in addition to administrative violations, which encompass decisions to obstruct student activities or events, and referring students to investigation.

The Ministry of Higher Education had contracted with Falcon Company, a private security firm entrusted with maintaining security at university gates, to secure several public university campuses beginning from the current academic year.

“State institutions are performing a systematic and coordinated crackdown on students, whether in universities or prisons or the streets,” stated Youssef Moslem, Students Against the Coup (SAC) spokesperson.

The month of April witnessed the storming of Al-Azhar University’s campus (girls’ branch) by police forces more than once, as well as the storming of residences of students from Cairo University and Fayoum University, the report highlighted.

Furthermore, the report documented violations by the administrative security, after having obstructed student activities in both Tanta and Cairo Universities. On 19 April, clashes erupted between student protestors and administrative security, resulting in tens of injuries on both sides and the arrest of 13 students by police forces.

In the aftermath of the Cairo University clashes, a number of student movements launched a Facebook event calling on students to ‘blog’. This would help outline the role of the administrative security in universities and document their violations against students.

A number of students were arrested from their homes during the period covered by the report. Those included four students from Banha University, and three students from Fayoum University. There were also two cases of arrest where police forces took the detained to unknown locations.

One incident was documented in the report as a violation committed by students belonging to Students Against the Coup (SAC), as they lit car tires on fire and blocked the road, leading to congested traffic.

Regarding administrative violations, there were a total of nine cases of expulsions from Al-Azhar University, and four cases of suspension from Fayoum University for the duration of a semester.

Several campaigns have been launched in an attempt to curtail the losses resulting from the violations. One such initiative aims to have detained students attend the exams for the current academic semester.

“Some of those detained would face expulsion if they failed to show up for their exams for this academic year,” mentioned a statement signed last week by five student movements, including the revolutionary socialists and Strong Egypt’s students. The statement added: “The main demand is still the release of all ‘detainees of conscious’ inside the state’s prisons, whether students or others.”

Moslem commented on the effectiveness of such campaigns, saying that the most they can achieve is to remind people of detained students and trigger their empathy. However, on the governmental level, there would be no response. “The campaigns might have an effect when NGOs and legal advocates push for the cause,” Moslem added.

The report is prepared periodically by the Association’s Academic Freedoms and Student Rights Program, covering violations starting from the month of April until the time of publication of the report.

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