Cairo court hands prison sentences to 11 Azhar University students

Tuesday 05-01-2016 02:50 PM
Cairo court hands prison sentences to 11 Azhar University students

Cairo, Jan 7 (Aswat Masriya) - The Cairo Criminal Court handed five-year sentences to four al-Azhar students, three-year sentences to six more students, and a one-year sentence to a female student on Tuesday.

The case is widely known in the media as "the Azhar University events."

The defendants are due to spend their terms in maximum security prisons. In addition, the defendants were fined a total of two million and 160 thousand EGP altogether.  

Public prosecution charged the defendants with "gathering with the purpose of the deliberate destruction of public property, and the private al-Azhar University (property), threatening public officials, use of force and threatening with violence."

On Dec. 24 2015, Egypt's al-Azhar University expelled 19 other students after an investigation into an act of violence dating back to July 2013.

A source told Aswat Masriya recently that the decision brought the number of expelled students in al-Azhar University to 29 since the start of the current academic year.

According to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, an organisation which documents violations against students, academics, and others, at least 370 students were expelled from 10 different universities throughout the 2014 academic year.

The first half of academic year 2014/2015 witnessed monthly arrests of al-Azhar students, with more than 70 students arrested in December 2014 alone for alleged involvement in illegal protests on campus.

Following the military's ouster of former president Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule on Jul. 3, 2013, clashes broke out between students and security forces on university campuses across Egypt, and especially in the al-Azhar University.

Al-Azhar is a thousand-year-old mosque, university and Islamic research complex in Cairo.

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