Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Higher admin court ruling allows security on Cairo University campus

Daily News Egypt
By Tamim Elyan
February 3, 2009

CAIRO: In a Higher Administrative Court ruling, security forces were allowed again inside Cairo University, overturning a November 2008 ruling by a lower Administrative Court, banning their presence on campus.

The court, headed by Ibrahim Al Soghayar, vice president of the State Council, said that the absence of security forces inside the university threatens security and order as well as endangers university property.

However, many argue that the presence of security forces answerable to the Interior Ministry undermines the independence of universities.

Professor Abdel Gelil Moustafa, a founding member of the March 9 Movement that pushes for university independence said the ruling was disappointing for professors seeking university independence through a private security unit that falls under the direct authority of the university’s president.

“The government delayed the implementation of the previous ruling despite the fact that Administrative Court rulings are immediate and obligatory,” he told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The ruling was also rejected by human rights groups.

“We must differentiate between security that aims at maintaining order and protecting students and one that aims at interfering in the activities inside the university,” Hafez Abu Saeda, head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, told Daily News Egypt.

“We totally reject security interference in student union elections, the selection of deans and monitoring student activities,” he said.

Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, also condemned the decision, saying court rulings are supposed to support citizens’ rights.

“I am amazed at this ruling because courts were the last shield for those who were seeking their rights but this is starting to change,” he said.

“The university is a place for education. Security forces are supposed to be in police stations, not universities,” Eid said.

Last year, Moustafa as well as a number of Cairo University professors contested an Administrative Court ruling that allowed the presence of security forces inside universities. Back then, the court had ruled in their favor.



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