Mubarak reverses exam result of student who criticized U.S.

Daily Star Egypt Staff
2 Min Read

CAIRO: An Egyptian student who initially failed her secondary school exams for criticizing the United States and her own government was given a helping hand by the president, newspapers reported Friday. President Hosni Mubarak yesterday ordered the re-marking of an answer sheet of the 16-year-old student who harshly criticized the U.S. president and the Egyptian government in an Arabic essay, the Egyptian Gazette said. Alaa Megahed failed her exams after blaming Washington and Israel for the state of the environment and criticizing the Cairo government in her final exams, according to another paper, Al-Masry Al-Youm. Reports claimed that the student was interviewed by the district educational board. During the investigation she was asked if she had any political affiliations or was a member of any political group. Megahed’s case was first introduced to the public earlier this week through TV appearance with the popular El Qahira El Youm, a daily night show at Orbit TV. Alaa, became a symbol of the lack of freedom of expression for the press in Egypt.

The news brought outrage from both state supporters and critics of the government. Many were especially agitated that the ministry of education was acting in defense of the widely unpopular American policies.

Due to rising public dismay over the difficulty of the Thanaweyya Amma exams, the ministry is not in a favorable position these days. Even its initial solution to Megahed’s problem to let her take the test again was regarded ineffective. Critics said the ministry’s response didn’t address the problem that a student was prosecuted for freedom of expression.

On Thursday, the education ministry announced that the result was reversed after an intervention by the president and his encouragement of freedom of speech and expression, it said. But Mubarak also telephoned Alaa and her father, a factory worker in the Nile Delta governorate of Daqahliya, asking him to encourage his daughter to express her political views more tactfully, the Gazette said. With AFP

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