Egypt slaps 37 Alexandria students with jail terms for pro-democracy protests

By Mohamed Salem

Cairo - An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced 38 students from Alexandria University to jail for participating in pro-democracy demonstrations last year.

The Alexandria misdemeanor court sentenced 27 students to one year in prison fines of $1,430 each, while sentencing ten others tried in absentia to three years and fines of $7,140 each.

The students were arrested last year in connection with clashes between student protesters and security forces near the university campus.

Since Egypt's academic year began last September, several universities have been rocked by demonstrations against last summer's ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president.

Between September and January, near-daily student rallies had frequently escalated into violent confrontations with police, while scores of students were arrested. A number of students were reportedly killed during clashes.

Meanwhile, prosecution authorities referred 42 Morsi supporters to criminal court in connection with clashes that broke out between protesters and security forces on January 25, during demonstrations marking the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

The defendants face charges of rioting, staging unauthorized demonstrations and illegal possession of firearms.

Morsi was ousted by the military last July after only one year in office following mass protests against his presidency.

Since his overthrow, Morsi supporters have staged almost daily rallies in different parts of the country against what they describe as the "unconstitutional military coup" against the Islamist leader.

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