(AA) – Egyptian authorities have released renowned political sciences professor Heba Raouf Ezzat after hours of detention along with four university students after policemen arrested the latter over wearing t-shirts emblazoned with a sign associated with supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, local activists said.
“Dr. Heba Raouf Ezzat and the four students have been released from the police stations,” political activist Mohamed al-Baker tweeted early Sunday.
According to several activists, security forces arrested four university students who were participating in a ceremony organized by Cairo University’s Faculty of Economics and Political Science in the Saladin Citadel of Cairo for allegedly wearing t-shirts that carried signs suspected to resemble those of the pro-Morsi ‘Rabaa’ salute.
The four-finger, yellow-and-black Rabaa sign commemorates the hundreds of Morsi supporters killed in August of last year when Egyptian police violently dispersed two sit-ins in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square and Giza’s Nahda Square.
However, the activists asserted that the sign carried by the student’s outfits – an open child palm on a background of multiple colors – had nothing to do with the Rabaa sign.
According to the activists, Ezzat headed to Khalifa police station, where the four students had been detained, in her capacity as one of the ceremony’s organizers. They were released hours later.
The Egyptian authorities have not issued any official statement on the incident.
The dispersal of the major pro-Morsi sit-ins last year came only a few weeks after Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, was forcibly removed from office by the army following demonstrations against his one-year presidency.
The Egyptian government then launched a sweeping crackdown on the ousted president’s supporters, in which the Rabaa dispersal is widely seen as having been a turning point.
In a February report, Egypt’s state-run National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) said that a total of 632 pro-Morsi protesters had been killed in the dispersal.
The NCHR went on, however, to accuse sit-in organizers – along with Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group – of allowing “armed elements” into the protest camp and targeting security forces.
The National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, Morsi’s main support bloc, has slammed the NCHR report as “a pack of lies.”