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Thursday, 23 May 2019

Egypt court postpones Douma, Adel, Maher trial to 22 December

Witnesses claim defendants attacked security forces and prosecutors charge videos prove it; Maher and Douma deny accusations

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din, Sunday 8 Dec 2013
Ahmed Douma, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Maher
Ahmed Doma (L) and Mohamed Adel (2nd R) are seen with Ahmed Maher (C), founder and former leader of the "April 6" movement, when Maher turned himself in at Abddein court in Cairo, November 30, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
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A Cairo misdemeanor court said on Sunday evening that it would announce verdict against activists Ahmed Douma, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Maher on 22 December. The court also said the three defendants are to remain in jail until then.

The veteran revolutionary activists face charges of violating a new protest law and assaulting police officers.

Eyewitnesses released a detailed account of the trial session as well as the preliminary investigations.

The court has charged the defendants with co-organising a protest without a prior notice, obstructing traffic, thuggery and sabotaging the private property of a cafe nearby the protest's location. Most notably, they were also given three separate charges for allegedly attacking the security forces guarding the court: using force, assault, and causing bodily injury.

The court has also ordered the apprehension of another activist, Mohamed Adel, who remains at large despite the arrest warrant.

Prosecutors asked the court to issue the maximum possible sentence for the defendants, stating that Douma asked members of the 6 April Movement to stop protesting when violence occurred. According to the representative, this 'evidence' means that Douma was the one who called for the protests.

The prosecutors also stated that the defendants do not respect the law. Rather, they feel that they are above the law as they could have objected to the new the protest law, which mandates citizens apply for permits before demonstrating, through the proper legal channels.

The general prosecution's evidence against the three defendants includes video footage allegedly showing them attacking security forces.

The prosecution has also interrogated several witnesses including seven low-ranking police officers, three of which were injured in the clashes. The officers testified that the three defendants had attacked them while trying to force their way into Abdeen Court.

When confronted with the video footage during the investigations, Maher and Douma both denied the charges.

Blogger Ahmed Douma and leading activist Ahmed Maher were arrested after allegedly assaulting policemen at an illegal protest outside a Cairo court where Maher was turning himself in to authorities answering an arrest warrant.

An arrest order had been issued against Maher – founder of the April 6 Youth Movement and a symbol of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak – for organising a separate protest in late November to reject military trials for civilians in the draft constitution. 

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