Political activist Ahmed Douma of the 6 April movement looks on behind bars in Cairo, December 22, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
The trial of prominent activist Ahmed Douma and 268 others resumed in Cairo on Wednesday. They are accused of attacking the cabinet building and security personnel in December 2011.
They are also accused of torching the Scientific Institute in downtown Cairo.
On 16 December 2011, 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, now referred to as the 'cabinet clashes'.
Douma, who began a hunger strike in August to protest "inhumane" jail conditions, is in poor health, and there is an ongoing campaign for him to receive appropriate medical care for a serious digestive condition.
In the last court session, Douma’s lawyer Osama El-Mahdi withdrew in protest at what he deemed the court's violation of due process, after a heated argument with the presiding judge.
In a rare incident, the judge then referred three defence lawyers, including El-Mahdi, to the general prosecution for "instigating chaos" inside the courtroom.
Douma is also serving a three-year term in a different case with two other activists from the April 6 Youth Movement – Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel – on charges of breaking the controversial protest law and attacking security forces.