MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) — Human Rights Watch has called on Egyptian authorities to release the more than 110 university students that were taken into custody before the current academic year began, a statement published on the organization's website Tuesday said.
"Egyptian authorities should release more than 110 university students, arrested since the start of the school year on October 11, 2014," the statement said.
According to the statement, the students were arrested in a bid to prevent campus protests, which started with the deposition of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
According to the statement, 71 students were detained by Egyptian security forces in 15 Egyptian governorates on October 11, with a further 61 students arrested on October 12 and 13 following university protests across the country. Some students were detained directly from their homes, the organization stressed.
“This mass arrest of students is a pre-emptive strike on free speech and free assembly. Universities should be safe zones for the exchange of ideas, including political debates,” the organization's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa Joe Stork said in the statement.
The organization additionally reported that 14 students died in protests during the 2013-2014 academic year, following the overthrow of the then president Morsi.