The undersigned human rights organizations condemn the referral by the management of the 10th of Ramadan Higher Technological Institute of assistant professor at the mechanical engineering department at the institute’s branch in the 6th of October City Manar Tantawy for investigation on charges of approving leave requests for an employee working under her supervision. This comes within the context of many continued violations and abuses against Tantawy. The undersigned organizations call for the immediate cancellation of the referral decision and the cessation of the ongoing arbitrary measures against Tantawy.
On 12 April 2023, Tantawy was referred to investigation No. 20 of 2023 on charges of impersonating the head of the department and approving leave requests for the laboratory secretary who works under her supervision in the department. This came after the head of the mechanical engineering department at the Higher Technological Institute’s 6th of October branch filed a complaint accusing Tantawy of impersonating him and approving leave requests for the department employees unjustly. He attached the last three approvals granted to the laboratory secretary, Khaled Qutb, to the complaint.
According to the investigation (a copy of which was obtained by the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression’s Legal Aid Unit in its capacity as Tantawy’s legal agent), Qutb stated that he – according to the sequence of the leave requesting process at the institute – used to submit leave requests to Tantawy in her capacity as the laboratory supervisor, and after she approves the request he goes to the Administrative Affairs Department to place the leave balance on the application, then the Administrative Affairs Department sends it to the head of the department via mail for approval. Qutb noted that it was not the first time that he has requested leave this way, and the department head approved the last three leave requests in this sequence, despite the fact that he filed a complaint against Tantawy for signing those applications. The investigation committee decided to transfer Tantawy to a disciplinary board.
This coincides with the Ministry of Higher Education's request for Tantawy's documents and papers from the institute in order to implement the Administrative Judiciary Court's ruling to promote Tantawy to the rank of professor. On 30 August 2022, the Administrative Judiciary Court upheld Tantawy’s appeal No. 61520 of 75 and cancelled the negative decision to prevent her from being promoted to the rank of professor. However, the institute refused to implement the court’s decision and refused to promote Tantawy to the rank of professor, thus depriving her of holding positions such as the institute's undersecretary.
This targeting comes as part of a series of violations and abuses initiated by the institute’s administration against Tantawy when she demanded her legal right to assume the post of the head of department, after she apologized for the position in October 2020 for health reasons. The institute’s refusal to allow Tantawy to head the department was based on security reasons related to her being the wife of a former political prisoner.
The undersigned human rights organizations reiterate their condemnation of the violations, investigations, disciplinary boards, and threats of dismissal that Dr. Tantawy has been facing. They call for an end to these violations. They also call on the Institute as well as the Ministry of Higher Education to implement the Administrative Judiciary Court’s decision to promote Tantawy to the rank of professor and grant her the ensuing rights.
Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
El Nadeem Center
Egyptian Front for Human Rights
Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Sinai Foundation for Human Rights