Council of Universities requested arrest powers for security: Egypt cabinet

Ahram Online , Wednesday 18 Sep 2013

Cairo University had decided earlier in the week not to grant security guards arrest powers proposed by Supreme Council of Universities

Egypt's interim cabinet said Wednesday the proposal to grant university security guards arrest powers was requested by the Supreme Council of Universities and not the Ministry of Justice, Ahram's Arabic news website reported.

According to the cabinet, the Supreme Council of Universities, a semi-governmental entity, is the body responsible for requesting arrest powers for university guards.

The cabinet also denied that the Ministry of Higher Education requested the proposal, which was announced early September. If applied, the proposal will give campus security guards the right to arrest any student who commits actions that are punishable by law, as well as allowing guards to file complaints against arrested students.

Cairo University head Gaber Nassar decided on Sunday not to apply the proposal following a meeting with the university's student union.

Nassar and the student union representatives have agreed to improve the university's security by other means.

It remains unclear whether Cairo University's decision will be followed in other Egyptian public universities.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Higher Education Hossam Eissa defended the proposal to grant university guards powers to arrest students, stating that it aims to counter acts of sabotage.

In October 2010, Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court upheld a verdict to remove police from university campuses. University police were notorious for heavy-handed tactics against students and their targeting of politically-active members of the student body. In the aftermath of the 25 January uprising, private security guards were hired to maintain peace on campuses.

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