The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) condemned the decree issued by the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to impose punishments of prohibiting 16
students from sitting in for the exam of one of the subjects of the subjects in the second academic semester claiming that they committed actions that defy university regulations and traditions.
This decree was issued after these students, who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, organized a stand in protest in objection to the transfer of civilians to military tribunals on 25th March 2008.
It is noted that Cairo University witnessed several security and administrative incidents of interference aiming at the restriction of student activities especially when it is related to expressing themselves. In addition, it seems that, doing this; the University is going n conformity with the same methodology of behavior of the Egyptian Government in dealing with all the Egyptian public who has an opinion.
Although the legislator restricted practicing the punishment on the violating student unless there was an investigation and confrontation with the violation in question as well as having his statement and giving him the right to a defense, the administration of Veterinary Medicine issued punishments against 3 students without neither conducting an investigation nor listening to their defense which is a clear violation for the Law of University Organization.
AFTE points to the necessity of amending the provisions of the law stated in the Law of University Organization and its executive regulations as it includes clear violations to the rights and freedoms stated in the Egyptian Constitution especially the articles related to the disciplinary system of students which incriminates every organization for associations inside the University or participating in it without a previous permission from the relevant University Authority. It also incriminates the distribution of newsletters or releasing wall papers in any way in the Faculties. This is in addition to incriminating sit-ins inside University buildings or participation in demonstrations.
The Association confirms that these practices represent a violation for international conventions relevant to academic freedom. The Lima convention ensured that “States are under an obligation to respect and to ensure to all members of the academic community those civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights recognized in the United Nations Covenants on Human Rights. Every member of the academic community shall enjoy, in particular, freedom of thought, conscience, religion, expression, assembly, and association as well as the right to liberty and security of person and liberty of movement”.
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