Egyptian authorities have detained political activist Ahmed Abou Doma on charges of inciting violence against the army and encouraging attacks on public property during clashes in central Cairo in mid-December.
The defendant was arrested on the order of judges Wageeh El-Shaeer and Wagdy Abdel Azim, both commissioned by the Ministry of Justice to investigate the battle between protesters and security forces in front of Egypt's Cabinet offices last month.
Abou Doma, a member of the Youth for Justice and Freedom Movement, was arrested on Thursday. Authorities said he is being held for a month pending investigation.
Authorities claim that protesters detained during the clashes had confessed that Abou Doma had encouraged them to destroy public property.
For his part, Abou Doma – in a television interview conducted as the clashes were taking place – admitted to throwing Molotov cocktails at army personnel, an act he justified as “self-defence” after the latter opened fire on protesters.
Seventeen were killed when military and police forces cracked down on a sit-in outside the Cabinet office held to protest the army's appointment of Kamal El-Ganzouri as Egypt’s prime minister.
Videos and photographs from the scene documented the violent tactics used by security forces. The images were widely circulated online, prompting both local and international criticism of the army's treatment of civilians.
During interrogations on Friday, Abou Doma reportedly denied having assaulted military personnel during last month’s clashes, contradicting what he had said earlier in the television interview. Abou Doma also maintained his innocence regarding all the charges arrayed against him.
Meanwhile, the activist has been granted permission by the authorities to attend his scheduled mid-term exams at Tanta University’s law faculty.