Al-Azhar University student supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Morsi make the four-finger Rabaa gesture as they hold tear gas canisters during clashes with riot police and residents of the area at the Al-Azhar University campus in Cairo's Nasr City district December 28, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
A Cairo misdemeanor court has sentenced nearly two dozen Islamist students to three years in jail for illegal demonstrations, judicial sources reported on Thursday.
The 21 Al-Azhar University students were found guilty for protesting without a permit, as per a protest law issued late last year banning demonstrations not pre-approved by authorities. The students were also sentenced for taking part in violent events that the campus witnessed during the first academic semester.
Al-Azhar University, the highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning, has seen some of the worst violence since the July 2013 ouster of islamist presdient Mohamed Morsi, with clashes between pro-Morsi students and security forces at the university's campuses in Cairo and other cities.
Students were at the forefront of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood's resistance to interim authorities, after a security crackdown on Islamist demonstrators rounded up thousands of Brotherhood members, including the group's top leadership.
The near-daily clashes at universities caused for authorities to issue decrees allowing security forces on campuses and granting university administrators the right to expel protesting students.