Egypt's universities protest Mubarak verdict

Ahram Online , Sunday 30 Nov 2014

Former dictator Hosni Mubarak was cleared of murder charges from 2011 uprising, sparking unrest at state universities

Cairo University
Students gather inside Cairo University campus to protest the verdict in the trial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 (Photo: Nariman Abo El-Seoud)

A number of student protests were organised nationwide on Sunday to condemn Saturday's acquittal of ousted president Mubarak for killing protesters in the 2011 uprising.

The protests were called for by a number of political forces including the 6 April Youth Movement, Resistance Movement and Freedom for the Brave, a campaign to free Egyptian political detainees.

At Cairo University, security forces intensified their presence outside the campus, as tens of students gathered inside to chant slogans against the verdict, Al-Ahram's Arabic website reported.

Meanwhile, seven female Al-Azhar students in the Nile Delta city of Zagazig were injured in clashes with the university's security forces as they dispersed the protest. Three other female students were arrested.

Also in Zagazig, Egypt's police dispersed student protests at Zagazig University by firing teargas, after clashes between the students and university security. Eleven students were also arrested.

In Upper Egypt's Assiut governorate, Egypt's security forces dispersed another female student protest. The female students of Al-Azhar University's branch in Assiut started their protests inside the campus but proceeded with their march to a nearby square off campus while chanting slogans against the verdict.

Marches against the verdict were also organised at Fayoum and Alexandria universities.

Saturday's verdict sparked anger when the judge dropped the murder charges against the 86-year-old former dictator, arguing that the prosecution's earlier decision on 23 March 2011 to charge Mubarak lacked legal grounds to bring a case.

Following the verdict, at least 3,000 protesters marched to Tahrir Square, the cradle of the Egyptian uprising, which was cordoned off by security forces. Demonstrators then took to Abdel-Moneim Riad Square, a short distance from Tahrir, before they were dispersed by police who fired teargas, water cannons and birdshot.

Two were killed while at least 85 were arrested for violating the protest law, which stipulates that the interior ministry should be notified at least three days before protests.

The interior ministry issued a statement claiming that Muslim Brotherhood members – deemed a terrorist group last December – had infiltrated the protests.

A number of political parties and organisations are expected to hold a press conference later on Sunday to announce their stance against Mubarak's acquittal – widely criticised since Saturday morning.

The Lawyers Syndicate also announced it would study the reasoning of the verdict to take "required measurements" to appeal against it, according to Tarek Ibrahim, a member of the syndicate's Freedoms Committee.

Earlier on Saturday, the judge also ruled that the statute of limitations had expired on the charges against Mubarak, his two sons and businessman Hussein Salem on accusations of profiteering from illegal gifts of villas.

In addition, Mubarak was acquitted of charges of collaborating with his minister of petroleum to profit from a company owned by billionaire business mogul Hussein Salem, giving Salem the rights to export Egyptian natural gas to Israel at below market rates.

Salem was also acquitted of the charges.

Former Interior Minister Habib El-Adly along with his six aides were acquitted of charges of murder and attempted murder related to the killing of protesters in January 2011.

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