Azhar University officials jailed over food poisoning cases

El-Sayed Gamal Eddin, Wednesday 27 Nov 2013

Cairo court condemns Azhar University officials to 10 years imprisionment and EGP10,000 fine over the food poisoning of hundreds of students in April

File photo: Screen shot from Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr of ambulances at the Azhar student hostel (Photo:Ahram)

A Cairo court sentenced Wednesday the head of Al-Azhar university dorms, the kitchen supervisor, and eight cooks to ten years in jail and a EGP10,000 fine ($1,450)  for the food poisoning of nearly 700 students in April.

On 1 April, over 500 students were hospitalised with food poisoning after eating on campus. Less than a month later, a second food poisoning incident made 179 students ill.

Wednesday, the culprits were found guilty of neglect and slammed with a five year jail sentence and EGP5,000 fine for each case of food poisoning.

The double scandal prompted mass demonstrations by students, some of whom called for the sacking of Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb, who oversees the Al-Azhar religious as well as educational institutions in Egypt.

At the time, Egypt's Health Ministry said that the second mass poisoning was the result of salmonella bacteria.

Al-Azhar, one of the most prestigious authorities of Sunni Islam, runs mosques, universities, schools and numerous charities, in addition to issuing religious edicts (fatwas).

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