Three GUC students detained for assault after strike

Marina Barsoum , Monday 25 May 2015

The students, who all protested a death at the university in March, have been accused of assaulting the university's chairman and guards

The three detained GUC students: (Clockwise) SU president Hazem Abdel Khalek, SU Vice President Karim Nagib and Student Alaa Al-Atar

Egypt's prosecution has detained three students at the German University in Cairo (GUC) for four days pending investigations on charges of assaulting the university's head and security guards, a lawyer representing one of the detained students told Ahram Online on Monday.

The prosecution summoned the president of the university's student union, Hazem Abdel-Khalek, his vice-president, Karim Nagib, and a third student, Alaa El-Atar, after a week-long sit-in in March to protest the death of their classmate Yara Tarek.

Tarek, a 19-year-old engineering student, died in March after she was hit by a university bus inside the campus's parking lot.

"The three students headed to the New Cairo prosecution on Sunday, following their final exams, in response to a summon from Egypt's prosecution," lawyer Mokhtar Mounir from the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), who is defending Nagib, told Ahram Online.

GUC chairman and founder Ashraf Mansour filed a complaint against 11 students, according to Mounir, but only three have received an official summons.

The prosecution had allowed the students to complete their finals, which ran from 10 to 23 May, before calling them in, the lawyer explained.

The students have also been charged with damaging the university head's car, he said.

Meanwhile, student union member Mohamed Z, an undergraduate studying pharmacology, told Ahram Online that the administration has promised not to take action against any protesting students after the sit-in ended, but then not kept their word.

"After our sit-in against Yara's death, the university's administration promised in a meeting with the Supreme Council for Universities, parents and student union members [that ended the protest] that there would be no action taken against any student," he said.

But some of the students who had participated in the sit-in were then however referred to the university's disciplinary council, after "they celebrated failing in their midterms with a cake". The university refused their petition to re-take their missed midterms, which had fallen during the sit-in.

"We were also surprised to hear that 11 students now stand accused of assaulting the university head and security guards," said the student.

The university is willing to retract its complaint, only if the students apologise to the university, Mounir told Ahram Online.

But Mounir said that he would file a complaint against the head of the New Cairo prosecution for withholding some of the documents related to the case.

"As a lawyer, I won't ease off the New Cairo head of prosecution because he's taken a side against the students," he said.

The GUC administration was not available for comment before publication.

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