A number of university professors protested Monday in front of Cairo University demanding the immediate release of their colleagues from prison, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
The protest was organised by the group “An Independent University”, set up this year and advocating an entirely independent university system. In a Monday statement, the group said that the “the nation’s scientists and brilliant minds are facing harsh sentences” for defending the country’s freedom and dignity.
The two arrested professors are Mostafa Zidan, a professor at the National Institute of Laser Studies, and Magdy Khalifa, a professor in the College of Applied Arts. Zidan was arrested last April on charges of belonging to the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. He is suffering ill treatment and harsh conditions, and is currently on hunger strike to protest his conditions, the group said.
Khalifa was arrested last year on charges of planning a plot to overthrow the regime. The group confirmed that he is also on hunger strike.
Several detainees and activists in Egyptian prisons have recently started hunger strikes to protest their imprisonment.
Cairo University’s campus has witnessed violent clashes between students and security forces since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, resulting in many arrests and deaths.
At least 90 students were expelled from Cairo University throughout the past academic year for their alleged implication in on-campus violence. These include vandalism, torching and physical and verbal attacks on institutions and people within the university.
On Sunday, the university’s President Gaber Nassar said that politically affiliated groups and activities would be banned from the Cairo University campus with the start of the new academic year.