After classmate’s death, Ain Shams students resign from union in protest

After an Ain Shams University student was allegedly killed by security forces on Tuesday, his classmates released a statement Wednesday announcing they would resign from their student union in protest.

The university’s Engineering Student Union claimed their classmate was arrested on campus and then killed by Interior Ministry personnel at an unknown location.

According to the statement, Islam Salah Eddin, popularly known as Atitu, was taking an exam with his fellow students in the electric power department when an unknown person entered the room accompanied by a faculty member. They told him to go the student affairs office following the exam.

The unknown person allegedly waited outside of the examination area until Salah Eddin finished, then left with him. This was the last time Salah Eddin was seen alive by his classmates. News of his death soon spread on campus “like fire through hay” the following day, the union reported.

However, the Interior Ministry has offered a starkly different account of events. In a statement released on its official Facebook page, the ministry claimed that Salah Eddin was killed after he opened fire on security personnel during an attempted arrest in the Fifth Settlement, not on campus. Officials claimed Salah Eddin was wanted for alleged involvement in the assassination of Colonel Wael Tahoun. The statement further accused Salah Eddin of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The student union denies these allegations, instead claiming that Salah Eddin was deliberately murdered.

“[The state] killed him in cold blood. He was accused and convicted without a just trial. These actions are fascist, there are no other ways to describe them,” the statement read, adding, “We could never have imagined that our dreams of freedom, truth and justice would turn into this nightmare.”

The student union requested that the university release footage from the surveillance cameras on campus, which they said would show Islam left the campus accompanied by the unknown man who came to their examination.

The students demanded that the school board launch an immediate investigation into their classmate’s death, and also called on the university to take legal steps to ensure that those who allowed a student to be arrested and then killed would be held responsible.   

Responding to the student union’s allegations, Ain Shams University Dean Ayman Ashour claimed, “Islam left after the exam, but no one entered the school and arrested him inside the school,” the privately owned newspaper Al-Shorouk reported.

Addressing the charges the Salah Eddin was killed by Interior Ministry forces, Ashour added, “I don’t know the circumstances of the statement released by the Interior Ministry, that is their business and their work. All I know is that Islam attended the exam on Tuesday and was not arrested on campus.”

He claimed that no one is allowed to arrest students, “even during protests. We do not allow the arrest of students on campus.”

The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) reported that the Engineering Faculty halted exams on Thursday following these events. The organization has been attempting to monitor the number of student arrests across the country. According to a study they released in the fall of 2014, 195 students were arrested across the country in the first week of that semester alone.

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