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Egypt students' union disbands over the killing of student suspected of terrorism

The Faculty of Engineering students' union of Cairo's Ain Shams University says the student accused of assassinating a police officer was taken from campus the day before being 'murdered' by security forces

Ahram Online , Thursday 21 May 2015
Islam Salah Al-Din (Photo: The Ain Shams Engineering Martyr Facebook page)

Egypt's Ain Shams University’s Faculty of Engineering students union announced that it has disbanded after failing to protect students’ rights, following what it called the “kidnapping” and “murder” of a fellow student by security forces earlier this week.

Security authorities said that the student was a terrorist accused of killing a police officer.

The Students union said in a statement published on its Facebook page late Wednesday that on Tuesday an unknown man accompanying one of Ain Shams University officials asked about student Islam Salah El-Din at the exams room. The student was then ordered to go to the head to the Students Affairs department in the faculty.

The statement added that after the exam, the anonymous person took Islam Salah El-Din to an unknown location.

“The next day, the news of his murder by security forces spread like fire in the media,” the statement added.  

Earlier Wednesday, the Ministry of Interior announced that one of the suspects accused of assassinating police colonel Wael Tahoon was killed in a raid by security forces in New Cairo.

According to the security forces, the suspect was Ain Shams University student Islam Salah El-Din, who was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood member.

The statement from the ministry of interior added that when the security forces raided the hideout of Islam Salah El-Din, he opened fire on them. The security forces fired back, killing him.

Police colonel Wael Tahoon was assassinated in April by two unidentified gunmen on a motorbike near his house in Ain Shams area. Tahoon was a senior investigations officer in Matariya neighbourhood, an Islamist stronghold.  

“After three years of being elected as the students' union-- representing all the students in the faculty-- we understand that you know we did not comprise any of the students’ rights or betray them.

"However, we stand facing this criminal act, we stand helpless, but we have a moral responsibility and thus must disband and apologise to the students because we cannot complete our job,” the statement from the students' union said.

“We demand that the administration of the faculty open an immediate investigation into how an unknown person, allegedly from the security apparatus, could come on campus like that during the exams and demand to take a student,” Ahmed Barakat, a member of the Faculty of Engineering student union told Ahram Online.

Barakat added that the resigned students union demanded the administration of the faculty to present the video surveillance records which show Islam Salah El-Din leaving the campus with an unknown person, allegedly from the security apparatus.

In media statement on Thursday, the faculty of engineering announced that Salah El-Din was seen leaving the university campus with one of his friends, according video surveillance records.

University head Hussein Eissa said Salah Al-Din attended the exam, and added that the university was not notified by the interior ministry that the student was involved in a murder case.

"We didn't know he faced charges of murder," Eissa told Ahram Arabic news website. Ain Shams University’s Faculty of Engineering cancelled its activities on Thursday, including a conference for its staff.

Concerning the future of the students union in the Faculty of Engineering of Ain Shams University, Barakat told Ahram Online that the members of the union will support any student activity in the future.

The Faculty of Engineering students union in Ain Shams University became active in Egypt shortly after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. They have organised protests and strikes in solidarity with students arrested or killed in protests.

The union included students from various currents, including leftists and Islamists.


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