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Cairo University teaching assistant suspended

The assistant was accused of breaking into the Faculty of Engineering; says he will appeal decision

Teaching Assistant at the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University (FECU) Sherif Hany received on Wednesday evening a notice, signed by Chairman of Cairo University Gaber Gad Nassar, for a three-month suspension pending investigation.

The notice, dated 16 February, accused Hany of leading the student protest, inciting them to break into the Faculty of Engineering on Saturday, 7 December 2013 and cheering with “aggressive and unacceptable chants” against the university chairman.

Hany said: “The students intended to hold a sit-in inside the faculty on Saturday, protesting the death of their fellow student Mohamed Reda, but they found the doors of the faculty locked and body guards standing at the front gate.”

He said that he feared clashes would erupt between body guards and the angry students; therefore, he spoke to the faculty management in an attempt to convince them that the students would hold the sit-in the following day. However, according to Hany, management refused to open the gates.

The university chairman arrived later to inspect the situation at the faculty, and spoke to the students and present journalists, Hany stated, adding that the chairman announced that neither students nor professors were allowed to strike.

“I interrupted him then and said that striking is a legal right,” said Hany, adding that the students began cheering against the chairman at that point. The chairman subsequently left the faculty, after which the students broke the lock on the side gate to hold their sit-in.

Hany stated he would appeal the decision to suspend him and will demand a review to the complaint filed against him.

The Faculty of Engineering halted classes for one week to protest the death of student Mohamed Reda, who died after clashes erupted between security forces and Students Against the Coup on 28 November 2013.

Reda was a freshman student in the faculty and died due to fatal birdshot injuries. The faculty accused security forces for the killing of students, while the prosecution accused “Muslim Brotherhood students”. Students consider Reda a victim of “police violations in universities”, and he remained one of the driving factors behind student protests occurring throughout the rest of the term.

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