The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights Condemns the Forcible Dispersion of the Faculty of Mass Communications Strikers

March 24th, 2011 by Editor

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its deep condemnation of the use of excessive force by the military police on Wednesday, 24/3/2011, to disperse the strikers of the Faculty of Mass Communications at Cairo University which led to the injury of 7 students. EOHR thus called on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to immediately investigate the incident and punish its perpetrators with announcing the results of the investigation to the public opinion. 

According to information received by EOHR, the students assembled in from of the conference halls on the fourth floor of the faculty yesterday at twelve p.m. during the convening of the council of the faculty. They occupied the stairs confirming that they won’t allow him to get out before he resigns after which the dean and some of the professors who support him called the army to resolve the situation. Upon this, the army told the students that the dean submitted his resignation to the SCAF and that SCAF is studying it. The students then asked to view a copy of the resignation which was rejected. So, the students proposed that a delegation of them is sent to SCAF to view the resignation after which they would disperse voluntarily. The army refused and the strikers were then forcibly dispersed.

A live testimony of the incident stated that the military police chased students last night until the gates of the university and in side streets using electrical clubs to disperse them. As a result of these events, 7 students were injured, 5 of which were female students. The names of the injured students are: Al Zahraa Magdy, Shaimaa Gaber, Qlaa Fathy, Zeinab Rida, Nihal Abdel Fatah, Wael Abdel Hafeez and Mahmoud Saeda. They have been transferred to the students’ hospital. They were discharged after their treatment. Also, some professors were detained for about an hour including Dr. Mamoud Khalil, Dr. Sherif Darwish and Dr. Ashraf Saleh.

On his part, Mr. Hafez Abu Saeda, the Chairman of EOHR, has condemned this way of dispersing the strikers of the faculty of mass communications. He then confirmed that a democratic civilized dialogue should have been conducted with those students who expressed their opinions with complete freedom through legitimate and peaceful way that is consistent with the nature of the phase of the post-25th of January revolution. This should also happen in a way that is consistent with their right to the freedom of opinion and expression which is protected under the constitution and the international human rights conventions. Abu Saeda called on Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to immediately investigate the incident of dispersing the strikers using force and to quickly arrest the offenders and punish them especially that these individual acts of some military police officers contradict the army’s efforts to provide protection of the protestors of the revolution from offenders and thugs. It also constitutes a distance from the general principles the army was committed to during the different phases of the revolution.

Abu Saeda pointed out the importance of the independence of the Egyptian revolution of establishing the principles of internal democracy which should include the Faculty of Mass Communication in its capacity as one of the platforms of freedom and democracy which should be producing new young generations with outstanding journalistic and media capabilities. As such, the Faculty of Mass Communications should be cleaned from the figures of corruption and the supporters of the old regime in order to protect the gains of the 25th of January revolution as corruption has been one of its causes.

It is noteworthy that the students of the Faculty of Mass Communications have gone on strike for 15 days in front of the faculties without having any of the officials intervening to examine their demands. This pushed them to go on a hunger strike since Thursday, 17/3/2011. The chairman of EOHR has already called on the students to disperse strikers in fear of their lives. 


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