The prosecution referred three male Al-Azhar University students in Cairo to military court on charges of violating the Protest Law, obstructing roads and engaging in violent activity, Students Against the Coup (SAC) reported Saturday.
According to the group, the students were arrested on 3 December and were interrogated for 15 days in detention before the decision to refer them to the military court was made.
This comes after rights groups in Egypt issued a statement in October condemning a recent presidential decree allowing judicial expansion for military courts, to also include crimes against “vital” state properties and obstructing public roads.
“This decree expands the jurisdiction of military courts and as such seriously jeopardizes citizens’ right to fair trials and further aggravates the current crisis of the Egyptian justice system,” the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said in a joint statement on 30 October.
The newly added crimes that now fall under the jurisdiction of military courts are often cited among the accusations that arrested protesters face, including many activists currently in jail.
SAC had announced on 25 December their intention to escalate protests in the upcoming period, especially during the commemoration of the revolution on 25 January, in a new wave of protests under the slogan of “January all over again”.
According to Assem El-Shafey, one of the spokesman of SAC in Al-Azhar University in Cairo, students continue to face heavy restrictions and arbitrary expulsion. “In some cases, students are not even informed that they have been suspended, especially when it happens in large numbers,” El-Shafey told Daily News.
The latest collective expulsion took place on 17 December, when the university fired 71 students for protesting on campus.