Legal documents released on Wednesday reveal that Egyptian prosecutors have filed a host of criminal charges – including espionage – against Emad Shahin, professor of political science and public policy at the American University in Cairo.
The 56-year-old Shahin, an Egyptian national, vehemently denied the charges brought against him in a written response.
Shahin was revealed to be included on a list of 36 defendants, primarily high-ranking members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, including ousted President Mohamed Morsi and the Islamist group’s Guidance Bureau.
Although he is not a Brotherhood member, prosecutors have filed charges against Shahin that include espionage, leading an outlawed organization, providing an illegal organization with information and financial support, calling for the suspension of the Constitution, obstructing state institutions and authorities from performing their functions, harming national unity and social harmony, as well as conspiring to depose the government by force.
Prosecutors have listed this professor as having “fled justice.”
According to Shahin’s written statement, “these claims are baseless and politically motivated.”
Shahin, who is travelling abroad, was reportedly “shocked” to hear that these charges had been filed against him. He denied that he was either a fugitive or an outlaw.
The professor mentions that he was never a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, nor did he ever support this Islamist society financially.
In his statement, Shahin says “I categorically and emphatically deny all the charges, and I challenge the State Security Prosecutor to present real evidence to substantiate these fabricated charges.”
“I am an academic and have been independent throughout my life. I am an advocate for democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and a fervent supporter of the main objectives of the January 25 revolution in Egypt, namely freedom, dignity and social justice,” he added.
As of Wednesday night, the AUC did not have an official response regarding these criminal charges or Shahin’s defense.
However, the professor’s students left a host of comments on social networking sites expressing their disbelief at the criminal charges leveled against him. Most of these comments appeared to support the academic, and to dismiss the allegations of criminal behavior.
Amr Hamzawy, another professor of public policy at the AUC also had criminal charges brought against him just three days ago, which pertain to “insulting the judiciary.”
The liberal political activist Hamzawy, like Shahin, was lumped together with ousted President Morsi, a group of leading Muslim Brotherhood members and other opposition activists in relation to these criminal charges.