Sixteen Al-Azhar University students were sentenced to three years in prison in connection with clashes that occurred at the university last December.
The Nasr City Misdemeanour Court sentenced the students on Saturday at a hearing held at the Police Academy in New Cairo. The students were accused of rioting, hooliganism, blocking a road, resisting the authorities and demonstrating without a permit, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
The case refers to clashes between student protesters and security forces on 9, 10 and 28 December 2013. One student was shot dead on the 28 December, while over the three days dozens were injured and more than 100 were arrested.
The demonstrations were organised by the Students Against the Coup (SAC) movement, a group opposing the removal of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
“It’s not strange [to see this verdict] from the coup judicial system and it’s not the first time to have unjust sentences for students who exercise their rights to express themselves peacefully,” said Youssof Moslem, spokesman for SAC. He pledged that the movement would pursue “peaceful escalation” in response as well as contacting the imprisoned students and human rights organisations.
“Any students arrested in Egypt is of great concern to us,” said Moslem. “Not just students: any Egyptian.”
Demonstrations at Al-Azhar began in response to the death and detainment of students during the dispersal of sit-ins supporting Morsi over the summer.