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Dozens of Al-Azhar students to stand trial for university violence

Trial of 64 students over violent clashes at Egypt's most prestigious Islamic university will begin on Wednesday

Ahram Online, Tuesday 21 Jan 2014
Al-Azhar violence
Damage at Al Azhar University's administration building after student protests, Cairo, Egypt, October 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
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Prosecutors on Monday ordered the trial of 64 students over violent clashes at Al-Azhar University, a judicial source has told Ahram Online.

The students, said by prosecutors to belong the Muslim Brotherhood movement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, face charges of "rioting, disrupting public order and security, damaging public property, assaulting security personnel and protesting without authorisation," the source added.

The charges stem from violence at the prestigious Islamic university in December and January.

A misdemeanor court set Wednesday for the first hearing of the trial.

Al-Azhar, the highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning, with campuses in Cairo and other cities, has been the scene of frequent protests by Morsi supporters since his downfall in July and a sustained crackdown by authorities on Islamists that has largely decimated their street movement.

Dozens of students have been arrested and are still in detention since protests started at the beginning of the academic year in September.

Earlier in January, 26 pro-Morsi Al-Azhar students were sentenced to two and a half years in jail on charges including violence and thuggery.

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