Cairo: 1 November 2021

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said today that lawyers of its Criminal Justice Unit issued an official warning to the President of Helwan University over the apparent intransigence and crackdown practiced against its client Yehia al-Qazzaz, professor of science at the university. The complaint is urging and obliging the university’s president to notify al-Qazzaz of the decisions made by the university’s disciplinary board after investigating him over the arbitrary accusations it leveled against him.

Al-Qazzaz, accompanied by his defense lawyers, attended, on July 5, the two sessions of the two disciplinary councils he was referred to. They were notified by the head of the university’s board that al-Qazzaz’s two trials had been set for adjudication at the session of 30 August 2021. Since this date, the university’s president and the disciplinary board’s members have refrained from announcing or notifying the professor of the decisions and judgments that had been issued in these two trials, in a violation of the law; since it is required that the respondent or plaintiff be notified of the decisions being taken in order to allow him to take the legal measures of appeal. Therefore, ANHRI’s warning demanded that Helwan University’s president, in his capacity, announces the two decisions issued by the disciplinary board and that no legal consequences would result in the face of professor al-Qazzaz until this announcement is officially made.

The series of violations against professor Yehia al-Qazzaz dates back to July 2019, when he was investigated by Helwan University into his alleged absence from work during the period from August 2018 to 26 May 2019, during which he was held in remand detention upon a decision from the Supreme State Security Prosecution over Case No. 1305 of 2018 (Investigation).

The matter didn’t stop there, but was followed by two decisions issued by Helwan University’s president referring Yehia al-Qazzaz to a disciplinary trial No. 2 of 2018 for allegedly breaching the duties of his job for belonging to a terrorist group, which he constitute a kind of retaliation for his political stances within the university campus. Then the president of Helwan University persisted in his arbitrariness by issuing a new decision No. 1 of 2020 referring professor al-Qazzaz to a new disciplinary board for allegedly posting, on Facebook, remarks that are deemed insulting to the President of Egypt. These accusations, if they are valid, should never be brought on campus; because they fall within the jurisdiction of criminal law and the Public Prosecution and not the academic community.

Helwan University’s president and his subordinates’ refusal to announce the decisions issued by the two disciplinary councils constitutes a new episode of the crackdown on professor al-Qazzaz, which is not only reflect the legal violations committed against him but also represents a kind of political revenge and a severe violation of the principle of respect for academic freedoms established by law and guaranteed by democratic societies.

ANHRI called on the President of Helwan University to reverse his stances towards professor Yehia al-Qazzaz and to adopt a more fair position that is worth for an academic colleague, instead of the position of appeasing the political regime by cracking down on university professors who demand freedom and are concerned about public affairs.