Egypt: Police officers banned off university campus

Date posted: November 27, 2008


In a historic court ruling, police are now banned from patrolling Cairo University's campus. Instead, the university will have to deploy civilian personal as security guards. Bloggers welcomed the ruling with guarded optimism.

In a series of posts, blogger and activist Hossam El Hamalawy linked police recklessness to March 9 movement, a group of Cairo University professors who came together in March 2003 in protest of the US invasion of Iraq and who now press for university autonomy and academic freedom, to the final court order that banned police officers off campus.

In his post AI: Egyptian police are reckless, El Hamalawy quoted Amnesty International saying:

Against the backdrop of recent killings during police operations, Amnesty International deplores the increasing use of excessive force by police and security forces in Egypt when carrying out search operations, seeking to disperse protestors or patrolling the Egyptian borders, which have often led to deaths. The organization fears that this pattern of killings and excessive use of force will continue unless those responsible are brought to justice and clear instruction and adequate training is given to police and security forces.

In a subsequent post he quoted journalist Sarah Carr saying:

The Cairo Administrative Court Tuesday issued a ruling that bans the presence of police officers on Cairo University’s campus. The verdict obliges the university to employ civilian personnel as security guards.

While the verdict only concerns Cairo University, its effect should extend to all Egyptian universities, Cairo University professor Abdel Galil Mostafa from the faculty of medicine told Daily News Egypt. University campuses are currently policed by interior ministry personnel and police officers who have no link to the university in which they work and are not answerable to it.

Earlier this month, two engineering students from Helwan University, Nagy Kamel and Mostafa Shawky, filed a legal complaint against police officers who physically assaulted them while they were attempting to enter the engineering faculty. Both students are known members of the Socialist activist group, Resistance Students. Kamel told Daily News Egypt that interference by security bodies in Helwan University is pervasive and that politically active students and their families receive threats from them.

The case had been brought by members of the March 9 Movement, a group of Cairo University professors who came together in March 2003 in protest of the US invasion of Iraq and who now press for university autonomy and academic freedom. The administrative court upheld March 9’s challenge to the presence of police personnel on university campuses on the basis of its violating the Egyptian constitution and the universities law.

Speaking of Helwan University, Hossam El-Hamalawy reports a silent protest that took place today:

Helwan University’s Resistance Students organized a march against police brutality on campus today. Simultaneously, professors from the 9th of March Movement held a silent protest in front of the university’s administration building denouncing the administration’s involvement in the security assaults.

Zeinobia commented on the court ruling saying:

I am so happy with the historical rule of the administrative court to kick out the security forces aka the university security from  the Cairo university campus. I am so so so happy. This is the best way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Cairo University to liberate it from that ugly control.

Unfortunately Cairo University administration appealed !! Anyhow I will not be dreamy because even if the security is outside of the University now ,it is still inside it through the pro-regime administration and staff. This is an old legacy I am afraid that goes back to the Nasserite era.

You know I have a mad thought now or rather a prediction on how the security will come back to the University. Expect in any moment a clash between some pro-regime students or even thugs entered illegally and others mainly from the MB students "with my all respect to them". Those pro-regime students would provoke the MB students and the rest is well known. Believe me this could happen, in fact wait with me and see.

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