HRW condemns the arrests of Egyptian university students

Ahram Online: The New York based NGO, Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the detainment of more than one hundred students that have been arrested during the first two days of the academic year, according to its latest report published late Tuesday.

The report stated that at least 71 students have been arrested in 15 governorates on October 11, which marked the start of the new academic year, while another 44 were arrested on October 12 and an additional 13 on the same day.

Quoting "Students for Freedom Observatory,” an activist group formed to track restrictions on campus political activities, the report read that "many students were seized from their homes in pre-dawn raids that involved uniformed police, plainclothes officers, and heavily-armed special forces units."

Testimonies from the parents of the arrested students nationwide were collected by the HRW.

In Damietta, Father of student Islam Abdallah told HRW he received no information about his son since he was arrested from his home on 11 October at 3 am.

The report includes other testimonies from Mansoura and Cairo of parents telling how police arrested their children.

Cairo, Ain-Shams, Mansoura, Damietta and Al-Azhar universities have witnessed a tense atmosphere during the first two days of the new academic year.

Students were protesting against the new private security company, Falcon, securing university gates.

They have also protested the detainment of their colleagues while demanding their immediate release.

Egypt's public universities were the scene of frequent clashes last year between police and students, with 14 students killed and hundreds jailed for illegal protesting or participating in the violence.

Hundreds of students were also either expelled or suspended from universities nationwide.

The university protests increased throughout the academic year, in contrast to street protests elsewhere, which dwindled due to a strong crackdown by authorities and the passing of a law banning all but police sanctioned demonstrations.

News Letter