CAIRO: A large number of students of different academic grades is now behind bars, and have failed to take their exams because they were arrested during the last period of instability in Egypt, according to interviews conducted by The Cairo Post.
There was an “escalated amount of random student detentions” during the few past months, not only amid clashes but also from the streets and even from homes, member of Freedom for Students Campaign Hend el-Ghazaly told The Cairo Post Sunday.
The Freedom for Students Campaign is one of the student advocate groups that were originally established in August 2013 to defend detained students as heated protests were repeatedly launched leading to detentions, injuries, and sometimes deaths. The campaign recently launched an initiative calling to enable the detained students to take their exams.
“Not all of the students who are now under detention are taking their exams,” Ghazaly added, noting that about 3,000 students were arrested since June 30, 2013 in different situations.
Although the campaign sends the needed papers for students to take exams to the prosecution, the prison might not transfer the detained students to the place where they will take their exams “whether at the prison or at universities,” Ghazaly said.
She explained that sometimes the students fail to take their exams since the universities’ administrations refuse to send the exams papers or a teaching assistant tasked with observing the examination.
“In Damietta Institute, the administration neither sent the exam papers or the observers to the detained students to take their exams,” Ghazaly said.
Sometimes the universities refused to pay the costs of transferring the students from their detention place to their exam location. “In some related situations, some parents donate to pay for those students to be transferred to their exams locations, such as what happened in Al-Azhar University.”
Regarding the problems hindering the detained students to take their exams, Ghazaly said the delay is caused by the prison administrations that fail to determine the examination location.
Random detentions and unified charges
There are many students and teaching staff members at different universities who have been randomly detained over the last period, assistant mathematics professor at Cairo University Laila Soueif said.
“Among the 30 students detained at Cairo University on January 16, two were accused of violent actions and chaos although they were doing their exams at the time of clashes,” she told The Cairo Post on April 29.
As for the teaching staff, Soueif referred to the April statistics report that 160 members were detained.
“The universities turned into detention zones where students are not even detained during participation in protests but while they were attending their lectures,” one founder of the Freedom for The Students Campaign Saeed Abdel Ghani said during the conference held on April 29.
Ghazaly said once most of these students were detained, they faced a pattern of unified charges including attempted murder, joining a terrorist group, destruction of the public facilities, and participating in protests.
She added that there are large numbers of students from different grades, not only university students, facing random detentions.