SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: January 30, 2016

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Travel Restrictions

Institution(s):Philipp University of Marburg

Region & Country:Northern Africa | Egypt

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 30, 2016, security officials at Cairo International Airport reportedly prevented Dr. Atef Botros, a lecturer at Philipp University of Marburg in Germany, from entering Egypt, allegedly on security grounds. Dr. Botros was reportedly detained and interrogated for several hours prior to his release the following day.  

Dr. Botros was born in Egypt, but has been lecturing at Philipp University since 2007, focusing on German Literature. In addition, he is a founder of the Egyptian NGO Mayadin al-Tahrir, which reportedly seeks to provide cultural and educational services to low-income Egyptians.  Dr. Botros reported that security officials informed him that he is banned from entering Egypt for life.  

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the denial of entry and detention of a scholar, apparently to retaliate against nonviolent scholarly or expressive activity.  In the absence of clear evidence to the contrary, such actions suggest an intent to obstruct the nonviolent exercise of the rights to academic freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of association — conduct which is protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  State authorities have a responsibility to protect academic freedom, freedom of expression and association, and to refrain from imposing arbitrary restrictions on movement or improper detention intended to limit these freedoms.  Such actions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.


​Egypt: ANHRI Condemns Deporting Dr. Atef Botros, Founder of Mayadin Al-Tahrir, & Banning his Entry to Egypt Permanently

Egyptian-German researcher receives lifetime ban from entering Egypt