3 university students jailed for 4 years for breaching protest law
YOUM7/Maher Iskandar

CAIRO: Al-Wayli Misdemeanor Court sentenced three Ain Shams University students to four years in prison with labor on Monday, and a 100,000 EGP (U.S. $14,500) fine each, on charges of breaching the protest law and cutting off roads.

The students were also charged with rioting, protesting without a permit and disrupting national peace and security.

Since the start of the first semester of the academic year in mid September, students at Cairo, Ain Shams, Al-Azhar and Mansoura universities have staged protests and clashed with security forces, resulting in several casualties and hundreds of detentions.

Police forces arrested at least 800 students on charges of unlicensed protesting, inciting violence, or disrupting the educational process over the first semester, according to the Ministry of Education.

In response to the rising detention rate, university students escalated their demonstrations across the Egyptian universities demanding the release of their colleagues.

Dozens of students have recently been sentenced to prison for staging “illegal protests” under a new law that bans all demonstrations that do not receive a police permit.

On Feb. 24, Cairo Court of Urgent Matters ruled the reinstatement of police forces within campuses for security reasons.

The court issued the ruling in light of the recent wave of violence in universities, given that a court ruling in 2010 barred police from university grounds.

“The decision violates the 2010 ruling by the High Administrative Court, the only body with authority over the matter,” said Egyptian lawyer and director of the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) Emad Mubarak, claiming that only administrative courts can appeal the 2010 ruling.

According to the newly issued university law, deans can irrevocably expel disruptive students without regular legal procedures as before, according to Al-Masy Al-Youm.

In January, 14 human rights organizations conducted a census and issued a joint report saying that that at least 510 students have been arrested from July 3 to Nov. 27, 2013, 211 of whom were enrolled in Al-Azhar University, 66 in Mansoura University, 39 in Cairo University and 37 in Ain Shams University.

Additional reporting by Mohamed Abdel Razek.

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