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Egypt fires 1,070 teachers for alleged terror links

Egyptian teachers and students shout slogans during a protest against the Minister of Education in Cairo on 10 September 2015 [Amr Sayed/Apaimages]
Egyptian teachers and students shout slogans during a protest against the Minister of Education in Cairo on 10 September 2015 [Amr Sayed/Apaimages]

Egypt has sacked over 1,000 teachers for allegedly being affiliated to a terror organisation, the Education Minister announced in a press conference.

Yesterday Tarek Shawki said that the teachers were fired for their links to the Muslim Brotherhood and vowed to investigate teachers “unfit to work” to purge Egyptian schools of “destructive ideas” and “politically extreme views”, according to the New Arab.

Al-Masry Al-Youm reports that some have been sentenced to death whilst others are “fugitives” outside Egypt.

The state-run Al-Ahram reported that Shawki will announce the new criteria for appointing teachers today and that it will launch an electronic portal for people applying for jobs at schools.

The government would hire 120,000 teachers to make up for a shortage in state schools.

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Egyptian authorities designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in 2013 and since then any opponent of the government and other citizens are accused of belonging to or funding the group, even if they are not politically active.

A number of people have been arrested and accused of belonging to the Brotherhood even if they are from a party critical of the group. Ziad Al-Alimi, a former member of parliament for the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, was arrested as part of the Alliance of Hope case in June yet Al-Alimi was an outspoken critic of the organisation.

A number of the alliance’s top leaders are in prison and have been sentenced to death on a range of charges, including terror activities.

Last year Human Rights Watch criticised the Egyptian authorities for using counterterrorism and state of emergency laws to “unjustly prosecute” advocates of peaceful criticism.

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The mass expulsion of teachers comes against the backdrop of a wave of protests that have taken place across the country since 20 September, calling on the president to step down amid allegations of corruption and mishandling the economy.

In the week after demonstrations began, almost 2,000 people were arrested, including politicians, lawyers, activists and former detainees.

Observers have pointed out that the way the Sisi government has reacted to the protests proves that he is shaken to the core by the threat to his rule.

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