Political activist Ahmed Douma of the 6 April movement looks on behind bars in Cairo, December 22, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
A Cairo court refused on Wednesday activist and hunger striker Ahmed Douma's request for the judges in his case to recuse themselves.
Douma, along with 268 other co-defendants, are charged with illegal assembly and attacking army and police personnel and state institutions during clashes that date back to December 2011.
Clashes broke out between protesters and security forces on 16 December 2011, when police forcibly dispersed a three-week-long sit-in near the cabinet office in downtown Cairo. At least 18 were killed and hundreds injured in the violence which spanned five days, now referred to as the cabinet clashes.
On 1 October, an appeals court will also look into another demand filed by Douma to change the court panel in the same case, accusing judges of personal hostility towards defendants.
Douma – detained since December – began his hunger strike on 28 August to protest his imprisonment.
His lawyer and other activists say his health is at risk. Dozens of others in and outside of Egyptian jails have joined a hunger strike campaign to demand the release of those they say are unfairly detained in cases involving freedom of expression.
Douma is facing a three-year prison sentence in another case on charges of illegal protesting. He was sentenced with April 6 leading activists Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel.
Recently, several activists have been released from detention, including Alaa Abdel-Fattah and Mahinour El-Masry but they are still facing charges.