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EOHR calls for the release of 20 students in preventative detention

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Five “Al-Qahwa” student detainees provisionally released

Students who support the Muslim Brotherhood clash with Egyptian riot policemen surrounding the entrance of Azhar University in Cairo on Dec. 27, 2013.  (Khaled Desouki/AFP)

Students protesters clash with Egyptian riot policemen surrounding the entrance of Azhar University in Cairo on Dec. 27, 2013.
(Khaled Desouki/AFP)

The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) in a Tuesday statement called for the release of 20 student detainees whom the organisation claims were arrested from their homes or from the streets.

The statement stressed that the 20 detainees are under preventative detention in Maadi Police Station, some of which being minors transferred to a juvenile facility, according the statement.

“Fighting terrorism should not affect the human rights and freedoms of the citizens, [and] should be according to the international framework of human rights,” added the statement.

On Tuesday the interior ministry abstained from transferring the70 detained Al-Azhar students detained on 28 December 2013 to Abbaseya Criminal Court due to security concerns.

The detainees’ defense lawyer, Sayed Sobhy, requested the release of one of the detainees called Ayat Hamada due to her health condition. Hamada is suffering from rheumatic fever and diabetes, as well as mumps acquired during her imprisonment, infected three of her cell mates and were accordingly quarantined.

“The 70 detainees are students who were arbitrarily arrested by security forces on campus after they have were done with their exams,” said Sobhy.

Clashes on examination week erupted in Al-Azhar University after Students Against the Coup organised a boycott of exams in protest against the detention and killing of students, and against “the violations” of security forces in Al-Azhar University.

On 28 Decemeber 2013, official statistics by the Ministry of Health mentioned that one Al-Azhar student was reported dead from a live ammunition injury and 14 students were transferred to nearby hospitals for different injuries. While the interior ministry stated that 101 students “belonging to the terrorist organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood” were detained on that day. Armed police personnel were present inside Al-Azhar University to ensure the examination process was taking place.

Five out of the 10 “Al-Qahwa” detainees were provisionally released late Monday.

The released detainees included 6 April student activist Kamal Al-Din Ahmed who was suffering from a health condition. The rest of the students were released because they were not present the last three times they faced prosecution, after the requests of the defence team to the prosecutor general and head of the supreme judiciary council were accepted, according to defence lawyer Mokhtar Mounir.

On 4 February the prosecution ordered the detention of the ten students to be renewed for 45 more days.

Last December, 10 student activists, who are members of 6 April, Al-Dostour student office and the Misr Al-Qawia student office in Al-Azhar University, were arrested from a coffee shop in Nasr City while discussing politics, and were charged with belonging to a terrorist organisation, inciting violence and attacking a journalist, amongst other charges. Their place of arrest led to the group being dubbed the “Al-Qahwa” detainees.

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AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah

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