Barakat releases 116 students detained for protesting
Attorney General HishamBarakat - YOUM7/Hossam Atef

CAIRO: Attorney General Hisham Barakat has ordered the release of 116 students charged with protesting and crowding in different cases, in conjunction with the new academic year, Al-Ahram reported Wednesday.

A statement from the attorney general’s office said the students were released in an attempt to “protect their academic future.”

Youm7 reported Wednesday that Barakat asked for the records of detained students from all governorates, especially the ones charged over violent actions in universities starting last year.

Last year, a number of pro-Muslim Brotherhood students conducted several demonstrations inside universities, especially at Al-Azhar University and Cairo University, in support of former President Mohamed Morsi and against the government crackdowns on protesters at the Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Square sit-ins.

Al-Azhar University issued a statement in December 2013 following the clashes. It described the students who participated as “outlaws” for attacking a number of university professors and employees. “For the interests of thousands, we called in security forces to officially intervene on campus and take all precautions to secure its people and facilities. We assure that the education process will not be delayed under any circumstances,” Al-Azhar said in the statement.

Pro-Brotherhood students surrounded the office of Al-Azhar University President Osama Al-Abd several times prior to the announcement, he told Sada Al-Balad in October 2013. At first they just chanted, but events escalated and he demanded security intervene and use teargas to disperse the demonstrations in March 2013, according to MENA.

For the coming academic year, most universities have issued new rules to ban political activity on campus, a move condemned by many rights groups and NGOs.

Youm7 reported that Al-Azhar Institutes head Sheikh Gafar Abdullah said in statements last week that discussing politics inside Al-Azhar Institutes schools is not allowed, and that anybody openly discussing politics will be referred to investigation.

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