Student dies due to wounds sustained during on-campus violence

Tuesday 21-10-2014 05:02 PM
Student dies due to wounds sustained during on-campus violence

The academic year started amid tight security measures in state universities on October 11, 2014 - Asmaa Abdel Latif/Aswat Masriya


ALEXANDRIA, Oct 21 (Aswat Masriya) – A student at the University of Alexandria was reported dead on Tuesday morning due to wounds sustained during on-campus violence last week.

Omar Abdel Wahab, a sophomore at the university's faculty of law, was admitted into the university hospital following his injury last Tuesday. He is the first student to die as a result of on-campus violence during the current academic year, which started on October 11.

University campuses have witnessed unprecedented violence throughout the past academic year, with at least 16 students killed amid on-campus protests, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression's Student Observatory.

The pro-Mohamed Mursi "Students against the coup" movement has been organising protests against the former Islamist president's military ouster throughout the past academic year. Protests have often devolved into clashes with security forces.

"Students against the coup" in the University of Alexandria mourned the death of Abdel Wahab. In a statement released on Tuesday, the movement vowed that the deceased student's blood "will not go in vain."

A number of students from the University of Alexandria organised a demonstration protesting Abdel Wahab's death and calling for retribution on Tuesday, an eye-witness told Aswat Masriya.

The Ministry of Interior said on October 14 that two policemen were wounded in clashes between students who "belong to the Muslim Brotherhood" and the security forces inside Alexandria University. 

The security forces arrested 37 students, the ministry added in a statement. It accused around 250 protesting students of vandalising one of the gates and pelting security personnel outside the university with rocks.

Mohamed Ramadan, an Alexandrian lawyer defending 16 students arrested on background of the violence which took place in the University of Alexandria on October 14, told Aswat Masriya that all 16 defendants were "randomly arrested" from the scene of the violence, denying that any of them has political affiliations.

The 16 defendants are accused of murdering Abdel Wahab, the attempted murder of another student who was injured in the violence, illegal assembly and protesting without notice, Ramadan said. They were detained for 15 days on Thursday.

Before the start of the academic year, the cabinet discussed measures to be adopted during the year to quell any possible tension.

Minister of Higher Education Sayed Abdel Khalek hired a private security company on September 24 to guard 12 public universities during the coming academic year.

Strict security measures adopted by Falcon Security Services at the university gates nevertheless triggered violence from the students, who became frustrated with their delayed entrance into campus.

The Cairo-based Democracy Index reported on Saturday the occurrence of 58 student protests during the first week of the new academic year, at the rate of almost 10 protests per day.

AFTE reported the arrest of over 200 students during the past week in a report released on Saturday. AFTE said that 186 students remain detained. Those arrested include 70 students arrested from their homes, AFTE had earlier reported.

Eight domestic civil society organisations condemned the arrest of students during the first three days of the year in a statement released last Tuesday. International Watchdog Human Rights Watch also condemned the students' arrest in a separate statement on the same day, calling for their release.

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