The “Mansoura girls”, Abrar Al-Anany, Menatullah Al-Belehy, both 18, and Yousra Al-Khatib, 21, were sentenced to between two and three years in prison, while seventeen male students were sentenced to five years and Professor Mostafa Deeb was sentenced to seven years.
The students were arrested on 21 November when security forces “invaded Mansoura University Campus and fired birdshots and tear gas at the protesting students resulting in the injury of at least 70 students”, according to the statement. The three women were tending to injured students in the Faculty of Pharmacy at the time of their arrest.
Al-Anany and Al-Belehy were both sentenced to two years, while Al-Khatib was given a three year sentence. Eighteen other students involved in the case, all men, were sentenced to five years.
Tarek Al-Salakawy, the defense lawyer, explained that Professor Mostafa Deeb was given a longer sentence because he was accused of “pushing the students to protest”. That day, one student from the Faculty of Engineering was arrested and sentenced to between five and seven years, while a “large number” of other Engineering students were tried in absentia and given 25 years.
Human Rights Monitor (HRM), a London-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), submitted a complaint Tuesday to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calling for the immediate release of three women detained from Mansoura University last November.
HRM’s statement, released a day before the sentences were handed down, details the “Mansoura girls’” subsequent detention, noting that the women “were kept at the university Guards’ [Administrative Security] room where they were insulted and physically attacked,” before being transferred to the Mansoura police station. They were interrogated then moved to Minyat Al-Nasser Prison on 14 November.
“HRM demands the release the three women immediately and unconditionally and to drop all the fabricated charges against them, which they [the detained women] denied,” the statement says.
The women have been charged with “affiliating to a banned group, disturbing public order, chanting against General Sisi, and attacking state institutions and attacking police officers,” charges that Administrative Security allegedly denied.
According to HRM, the women were physically and verbally attacked, subjected to a full cavity body search, and at times were prevented from sitting in their cell.
“HRM urges Egypt to respect the right to freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights as well as articles 9 and 14 from the same conviction relating to the right of a quick and fair trial and to provide the women with adequate compensation,” the statement concludes.During the first session of the trial in February, the Mansoura court heard testimony of Colonel Abdel Aziz Bassiouny, the leader of the force that stormed Mansoura University. Bassiouny, along with five police personnel, testified as witnesses for the prosecution.
The prosecution also showed videos and based their case on Bassiouny’s testimony, which Al-Salakawy called “imprecise”.
Last November several clashes in the Mansoura University campus erupted between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and their opponents, resulting in the injury of a number of students.
The total number of detained Mansoura University students reached 66, according to the December statistic by the Student Observatory of the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression.