Student saboteurs to be tried by military courts: Egypt PM

Ahram Online, Tuesday 28 Oct 2014

New law empowers military courts to try schoolchildren and university students accused of 'sabotaging' educational facilities

Security forces
Security forces deployed outside of Cairo university following a blast that killed a Brigadier-general and injured five police officers, Giza, Egypt, April 2, 2014 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Schoolchildren and university students accused of sabotaging educational facilities will be tried by military courts under a new law issued on Monday.

The law also stipulates that soldiers will assist the police in guarding vital "public facilities and institutions."

Those who attack or sabotage such institutions will be referred to the military prosecution and tried by military courts.

Universities and schools are considered public facilities under the new law, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said on Monday during a phone interview with private broadcast channel CBC Two.

"[The law] is the will of the people, their opinion, and [public facilities] are their money," Mahlab added.

The new law was issued by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who holds legislative powers in the absence of a parliament, which authorities say will be elected by the end of this year.

It comes days after a deadly attack in North Sinai left 31 army personnel dead and 30 others injured.

Protests as well as clashes have been frequent at public universities since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Hundreds of students have been arrested and detained on charges that include destroying public property and violating the protest law.   

Since the start of the new semester on 11 October, police have stormed at least five universities and arrested over 180 students, despite Mahlab saying police would not enter campuses.

One student died at Alexandria University after being wounded by birdshot during clashes with police. While a bomb exploded at Cairo University last week injuring 11.

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