Cairo court hands 21 Al-Azhar students 3 years in jail

Cairo court hands 21 Al-Azhar students 3 years in jail
Thu Feb 27, 2014 23:48:28

A Cairo criminal court has sentenced nearly two dozen Islamist students to three years in jail for illegal demonstrations, judicial sources said.

The 21 Al-Azhar University students were found guilty on Thursday for protesting without a permit, as per a protest law issued in late 2013 banning demonstrations not pre-approved by authorities.

The students of the prestigious college 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 forced ouster of the country’s first democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi by the military, 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 the military-installed interim authorities, after a security crackdown on Islamist demonstrators rounded up thousands of Brotherhood members and supporters, 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.

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