Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma jailed 3 more years for contempt of court

Ahram Online , Tuesday 9 Dec 2014

The activist is already serving another three-year sentence for illegal protesting in November 2013

Ahmed Douma
File photo: Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma stands behind bars during his trial at the New Cairo court, on the outskirts of Cairo June 3, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

Renowned activist Ahmed Douma was sentenced to three years in jail and a fine of LE10,000 for contempt of court on Tuesday.

In another session full of drama in the trial of 287 persons on charges of attacking the cabinet headquarters in December 2011, Douma was convicted of contempt after an argument between him and judge Nagy Shehata, head of the Cairo criminal court handling the case.

The discussion between Douma and Shehata became heated when the activist asked the judge if he had a Facebook account, according to lawyer Sameh Samir, who attended the session.

Social media users have recently criticised Shehata's alleged Facebook account for openly airing his political views against activists and figures from the 2011 uprising.

In response to Douma's question, Shehata denied having a Facebook account, saying that only people like Douma's friends used the site. He then sentenced Douma for contempt of court.

Douma also objected to the appointment of another lawyer to represent him, after his defense team decided to withdraw from the ongoing trial last month to protest the court's treatment of the defendants. Douma argued that the appointment goes against a decision of the Lawyers Syndicate, which has backed the defense team's withdrawal from court.

Judge Shehata has overseen several high-profile trials in Egypt, most notably the case of three Al Jazeera English journalists who received between seven and 10 years in jail on charges of spreading false news and belonging to a terrorist group – a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Qatar-based station has been accused of supporting since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Douma is already serving three years in jail along with April 6 Youth Movement co-founders Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel for illegal protesting in November 2013.

His trial on Tuesday was adjourned to 4 February 2015.

Defendants in the trial are accused of attacking the cabinet building and security personnel in December 2011, as well as torching the nearby Scientific Institute in downtown Cairo.

The violence was sparked when soldiers forcibly dispersed a three-week sit-in against military rule at the cabinet building. At least 18 were killed and hundreds injured in the violence which spanned five days.

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