Over 71 Egyptian University Students to Face Trial

The students of the Al-Azhar University are charged with joining the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt’s Prosecutor General on December 8 referred to the trial of 71 students of the prestigious Cairo Al-Azhar University on charges of joining the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and holding illegal protests, Mail Online reported citing a judicial official.

Hundreds of students have been tried in civilian courts after violence on campuses, bastions of pro-Islamist activists since the army’s overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. The students from Al-Azhar, the highest seat of learning in Sunni Islam who have been indicted were arrested in separate clashes with security forces since the October start of the new academic year, the official said.

Students from Cairo’s al-Azhar University run for cover from tear gas canisters fired by riot police during an anti-army protests outside their campus on October 20, 2013, news agency reports say. They are being charged with taking part in unauthorised protests, rioting, assaulting security forces and joining the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Egyptian government has branded as “terrorist group”, the official added. The authorities have enforced new regulations to limit student protests on campuses calling for Morsi’s re-instatement, many of which degenerate into clashes with security forces.

Last November, five university students were referred to military trial for allegedly torching a university building during a pro-Morsi protest. At least 14 students were killed on campuses in the last academic year in clashes with security forces, while one student has been killed since October.

A government crackdown on Morsi supporters since the army ousted him has resulted in at least 1,400 people dead and thousands jailed. Several leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Morsi, are themselves on trial in cases which carry the death penalty if convicted. A court in Cairo on December 2, sentenced 188 supporters of Morsi to death over the killing of 13 policemen in a village on the outskirts of Cairo on August 14, 2013.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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