2 Alexandria students detained for conducting public survey on controversial seaside barriers

Alexandria’s Bab al-Sharq Prosecution ordered on Tuesday the detention of two women for 15 days pending investigations on charges of joining a terrorist organization and filming without a license, according to lawyer Mohamed Hafez.

Alexandria University students Sohaila Mahmoud, Khadiga Bahaa Eddin and Marwa Mohamed — who was later released — were arrested close to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina on Saturday, after conducting a public survey in the Sidi Gaber area of Alexandria. The women were interviewing passersby regarding a concrete wall that was recently erected on the city’s corniche, blocking the view of the sea for local residents.

Alexandrians took to social media to express their outrage after different kinds of barriers were erected along the Sidi Gaber area of Alexandria’s corniche last week, as part of military-led, tourism-related projects on the city’s coastline. Some criticized the decision to build these barriers as illegal.

After detaining them for two days, the prosecution interrogated the three women on Monday and Tuesday, initially accusing them of “recording an audiovisual product without a license from the Ministry of Culture,” Hafez told Mada Masr.

The initial charge was violating Article 15 of Law 430/1955, which regulates the censorship on cinematic tapes, projector boards, songs, theater plays, monologues, CDs and audio tapes. However, the prosecution later charged the two women with joining a terrorist group as well, Hafez added.

According to Hafez, the women were also charged with the “possession of film” on their camera. The lawyer told Mada Masr, however, that National Security Agency investigations of the three women turned up no footage on their equipment, and they did not have any memory cards in their possession.

Article 15 of the law stipulates that “any person shooting a cinematic tape with the intention to use it without a license will be subject to a prison sentence of no less than one month and no more than six months, and/or a fine of no less than LE200 but no more than LE500.”

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