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Alexandria Uni cancels lecture by Egypt's ex-presidential scientific advisor Heggy

Once under fire for comments on an alleged Egyptian-made HIV and Hepatitis C cure, Essam Heggy claims cancelation was due to national security concerns

Ahram Online , Saturday 24 Oct 2015
Heggy
Former presidential scientific advisor and NASA employee Essam Heggy (Photo: AL Ahram)
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Essam Heggy, ex-Egypt presidential scientific advisor who was slammed last year for questioning an alleged medical breakthrough, said late Friday that Alexandria University had canceled a seminar he was supposed to give about Mars.

The NASA employee said the cancelation was due to national security concerns.

"Dear students, your passion for my lecture exceeded expectations, but Alexandria University has decided to cancel it for security concerns just one day before it was set to take place and while I was on my way to Alexandria," Heggy wrote on his Facebook page.

"All my regards and appreciation for the university heads and their relentless quest to maintain national security by preventing a lecture on the discovery of Mars," Heggy added sarcastically.

However, Alexandria University officials denied that the lecture was cancelled for security reasons.

"We rejected the lecture only due to the shortage of time, making us unable to receive Heggy," Ashraf Zahran, head of Alexandria University, told Aswat Masriya on Saturday.

"Some students filed a request to hold Heggy's lecture at the faculty of engineering campus, but the faculty's dean told them it would be hard to host him due to the time shortage, since the faculty first needs to implement some regulations before holding a lecture, such as checking the CV of the guest and the topic discussed, and then file the request to the university's dean to approve it," he said.

"The students decided to hold the lecture at the faculty of nursing instead and they reserved a hall there, but we also rejected the request as it violated the regulations process," Zahran said.

Heggy was the scientific advisor for Adly Mansour, Egypt's interim president following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. He left the post, along with Mansour’s staff of advisors, when President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi took office in June 2014.

Heggy publicly stated in February 2014 that the "claims by the Egyptian army that it has found a cure for Hepatitis C and HIV are a scientific scandal for Egypt," after physician and Major-General Ibrahim Abdel-Atti announced he had invented a device which treats HIV and Hepatitis C with 100 percent effectiveness.

He said that the devices are unconvincing and appear to have no clear scientific basis.

Heggy was heavily criticised for his comments by local pro-regime media outlets. The alleged devices were never made available for public use in hospitals as Abdel-Atti had promised.

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