Activists: Banning of guards in universities unlikely to be implemented

Human rights organizations welcomed a ruling issued by the Supreme Administrative Court which upheld a previous ruling banning the use of guards affiliated to the Interior Ministry in universities.

They hailed the announcement as a step towards the independence of Egyptian universities.

Baheiddin Hassan, head of the Cairo Center for Human Rights, applauded the ruling, with the reservation of the part that still requires the presence of civilian guards.

Hassan added that the Administrative Judiciary is a bastion in the defense of freedom, adding that the ruling upholds the justice of demands made by students, professors and human rights organizations.

Hassan, however, predicted that the ruling will not be implemented, saying that the current regime has no respect for the judiciary. He also said that the government will probably appeal the ruling. In addition to this, he said, “Civilian guards may represent another form of security interference in university affairs.”

Ahmed Sameeh, executive director of the Andalus Association for Spreading Tolerance and Combating violence, lauded the ruling saying that university guards have suppressed liberties, terrorized students, intervened in student union elections and banned conferences for too long.

Magdi Abdel Hamid, head of the Egyptian Society for Societal Participation, said the ruling demonstrates the independence of the Egyptian judiciary and gives cause for optimism.

In keeping with Hassan, however, he said it is likely that the government will ignore the ruling.

He therefore, urged NGOs and activists to keep pushing for its implementation, saying that the regime insists on suppressing on-campus political activities, except those related to the National Democratic Party.

Ahmed Saif al-Islam, head of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, said the ruling corrects an error made by Sadat’s regime and the Defense Ministry. He also said however, that the law may not be implemented immediately since the power of university guards is pervasive and extends to decisions concerning appointments, promotions and activities.

Shadi Talaat, a human rights activist, said university guards represent a form of state terrorism, since they muzzle the youth and prevent them exercising their political rights.

He also agreed that the ruling will not be put into effect, particularly with key elections on the horizon. “Since Egypt is a dictatorship that has previously exported dictatorship to the Middle East I don’t think it will give up on one of the important pillars of dictatorship,” he added.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.


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