CAIRO: An Egyptian rights group has condemned the “escalation of the systematic crackdown” on students by Egypt’s State Security Investigations apparatus.
The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said in a statement issued Saturday that 18-year-old Ibrahim Megahed was arrested after posting a wall journal — a student magazine posted on faculty notice boards — of the Qwesna technical institute, Menufiya, in which he is a student.
The wall journal discussed “the risks threatening the Al-Aqsa Mosque due to the violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces,” ANHRI says. Megahed was allegedly physically abused during his arrest on campus, and is currently being held in Damanhour prison — in defiance of a public prosecution release order, ANHRI says.
According to ANHRI lawyer Rawda Ahmed, a complaint against Megahed’s continuing detention was filed with the public prosecution office yesterday afternoon.
The ANHRI statement also says that three engineering students from the Zagazig University — Ibrahim Ali Farag, Mohamed Samir and Mohamed Nasr Ahmed — disappeared last week. The NGO describes their disappearance as a step taken “in case they take part in protests against the continuing arrest of students who express anger over the Israeli aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
“The law no longer has any value in the eyes of the state security apparatus,” ANHRI says in its statement, adding “only in Egypt would a student be arrested for a wall journal.”
The April 6 Youth movement reported last week that two of its members, Maha El-Khadrawy and Mahmoud Samy were targeted by state security officers for their involvement in gathering signatures for a petition calling for constitutional change spearheaded by former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
Human rights lawyer Mohamed Abdelaziz however, disagrees that recent weeks have seen an escalation in student arrests, telling Daily News Egypt that “students are continually targeted, especially members of political Islamic groups”.
“We can only talk of an escalation when there is an increased number of arrests on a regular basis,” Abdelaziz said.
Abdelaziz warned however that while escalated arrest campaigns “have not yet begun in earnest…they will begin” as Egypt gears up for the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled to be held this year and in 2011 respectively.