The undersigned organizations strongly condemn the Ain Shams events of last Thursday, the 4th of November, which involved violence and harassment of students and faculty of the 9th of March movement for the independence of Egyptian universities.
A delegation from the 9th of March movement paid a visit to the Ain Shams university campus to distribute the administrative court decision in case no. 26627/63 J, which ruled “the annulment of ministerial decree no. 1812/1981 regarding the establishment and organization of university guard administrations in some security directorates.”
Students gathered around their professors inquiring about the nature of the ruling and methods of its implementation, upon which a group of what has come to be known as the “Ain Shams Thugs” surrounded them, tore the papers away from faculty members and then violently aggressed the students using belts and chains, while several fo them were carrying knives which led to the injury of two students. The whole incident took place in the presence of security personnel, in uniform and plainclothes, who defend their continued presence on campus on ground of the students’ need for protection and safety.
Instead of apologizing for the violence and harassment suffered by faculty and students, statements released by the minster of higher education and the president of Ain Shams university fabricated a false story regarding the day’s events. The statement released by the president of the university, both in Arabic and English (the two versions are not identical) described the 9th of March faculty members as “an intruding group of strangers who came to university to stir its stability”, while described the “thugs” as “jealous students who are keen on the respect of their university in face of this external trespassing by people who are in no way related to university and which led to those strangers verbally aggressing the students and attempting to cause unrest and thrive inside university, which proves that this intruding group had premeditated this unrest by inciting clashes with students and spreading demonstrations on campus.” And instead of starting an investigation with the campus police and thugs who brought chains and knives to campus, the Ain Shams administration filed a formal complaint to the president of Cairo University, the alma mater of Dr Abdel Gelil Mustafa and his companions, demanding a formal investigation as per the violation of the independence of the university, the destabilizing of the security of students, and the obstruction of the educational process”.
The undersigned organizations
• As they recognize in the events of last Thursday a practical implementation of the threats made by the minister of higher education that he will “cut the tongue” of anybody who raises political slogans on campus;
• Strongly condemn the aggression and violence against students and 9th of March faculty members and consider it a stark violation of all principles and nature of life on campus which should have been a space for freedom of thought and expression and not a playground for police thuggery.
• Also condemn the non compliance of the Ain Shams administration of the administrative court ruling of expelling security guards from campus, which amounts to a breach of the decisions of the Egyptian judiciary.
• Express their complete solidarity with the students in exercising all their democratic rights on campus in accordance with the Egyptian law and constitution as well as international human rights conventions ratified by the Egyptian government, as well as express their solidarity with the struggle of the 9th of March group for the independence of Egyptian universities.
• Announce that they will support and use all advocacy and legal means to put an end to the police thuggery on campus and redress students and faculty who were exercising their lawful right to ensure the implementation of a court ruling.
• As well as call upon all human rights and academic organizations and movements which believe in the freedom and independence of the university to send messages of condemnation of violence and harassment against students and faculty alike to the minister of Higher Education, Dr. Hani Helal ([email protected]) and the president of the Ain Shams University Dr. Maged El Dieb (Fax: (202) 26847824) urging them to undertake an immediate investigation in the Thursday events as well as undertake the necessary measures to enforce the execution of the court ruling.
Signatories in alphabetical order
Andalus Center for tolerance and anti violence Studies
Arab Foundation for Support for Civil Society and Human Rights
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Egyptian Association for Enhancement of Community participation
Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
El Nadim Center
Haki Legal Center for the support of students’ rights
Hisham Mubarak Law Center
New Woman Foundation