Douma served life in prison in "cabinet clashes" trial

Wednesday 04-02-2015 10:44 PM
Douma served life in prison in

Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma stands behind bars during his trial - REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh


CAIRO, Feb 4 (Aswat Masriya) - The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced on Wednesday jailed political activist Ahmed Douma to life in prison in the "cabinet clashes" trial.

Douma was facing trial alongside 268 others for taking part in the "cabinet clashes" which occurred in December 2011. Thirty-nine of the defendants received 10-year prison sentences in absentia; they are all juveniles. The remaining defendants were also sentenced to life in prison.

All defendants were ordered to pay a 17 million Egyptian-pound collective fine for vandalism.

Osama al-Mahdy, one of the lawyers representing Douma, said that the defence team will appeal the verdict as soon as its details are released. He described the verdict as "unexpected".

Douma smiled and applauded the verdict, prompting the judge to threaten with sentencing him to "three more years in prison."

The defendants were charged with illegal assembly, possession of bladed weapons and Molotov cocktails, assaulting army and police personnel and attacking governmental institutions in December 2011 during the "cabinet clashes".  

Clashes broke out between protesters and security forces outside the cabinet headquarters in December 2011, leaving at least three people dead and 255 wounded. Egypt's Scientific Complex, located near the cabinet headquarters, was torched during the clashes.

The judge presiding over the trial, Mohamed Nagi Shehata, said the court based its verdict on witnesses' testimonies, as well as a recorded video for Douma which was broadcast on a television talk show. 

During the talk show on private television channel Dream, Douma had said he threw Molotov cocktails at "a group [of people] in army uniform", adding that he was responding to their attacks. 

The same court had sentenced Douma to three years in prison and a 10-thousand Egyptian-pound fine during an earlier trial session in December 2014 for insulting court.

Douma's defence team had withdrawn from the trial in November 2014, after complaining of being ill-treated by court.

The defence team had tried to refer the case to a different bench twice, citing the current bench's "obstinacy" in meeting its requests. Both attempts have failed.

Douma, detained since December 2013, started a hunger strike on August 28, 2014 to protest his imprisonment. He suspended it on September 30, 2014 due to stomach and duodenum ulcers, his wife said.

Egypt's Court of Cassation turned down last week a challenge issued by Douma and April 6 Youth Movement co-founders Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel against a separate prison sentence.

A Cairo court sentenced the trio to three years in prison and a 50,000 Egyptian-pound fine in December 2013 for violating the protest law. 

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