Mansoura Criminal Court on Saturday postponed the first court hearing of three women and 17 men who have been detained since the November clashes at Mansoura University.
According to Anas Alaa, brother of one of the detainees, the court did not allow the parents of the detainees inside the court house and postponed the hearing to the next day to listen to the witnesses testimonies.
Amnesty International issued a statement on Friday demanding the “immediate and unconditional release” of the three women, who have denied participation in violence.
Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy Middle East and North Africa programme director at Amnesty International, described the women’s detention as “another example of the mounting crackdown on protesters and free expression in Egypt. They are facing fabricated and illegitimate charges simply for exercising their rights.”
The Mansoura University detainees were arrested on 12 November 2013 after clashes at Mansoura University campus between Muslim Brotherhood sympathisers and their opponents. Among those detained were freshman students Abrar Al-Anany, 18, and Menatalla Moustafa, 18, and recent graduate Yousra Elkhateeb, 21.
Since the protest, the students have been held at Mansoura’s Public Prison, where they are each allowed only a weekly five-minute visit with their families.
The women are being charged with belonging to a banned organisation, protesting against the state’s institutions, damaging public and private property and disturbing the peace.
“If convicted, they face up to life in prison,” Amnesty’s statement said.
Students Against the Coup, supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi have since the beginning of the school year in October been engaged in violent clashes with opposing students, administrative security and security forces.
The number of students detained during university clashes last semester reached 611, according to December statistics from the Student Observatory of the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression. Sixty-six were from Mansoura University.