Court to issue verdict against Douma, Maher, Adel amid escalation threats

Ahram Online, Sunday 22 Dec 2013

Egyptian activists Ahmed Douma, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Maher are scheduled to hear court verdicts in cases brought against them Sunday after defying the newly enacted protest law

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)

A Cairo misdemeanour court is scheduled to issue Sunday a verdict against activists Ahmed Douma, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Maher on charges of co-organising a protest without giving authorities prior notice.   

The three activists are alleged to have organised a protest against the inclusion in the draft constitution of a provision allowing military trials for civilians. The protest was also in defiance of a new protest law that requires authorities be given three-day notice before protests are staged. The three defendants are also charged with obstructing traffic, thuggery and sabotaging the private property of a cafe nearby the protest's location.

Members of the 6 April Youth Movement, founded by Maher, will escalate their actions if the three defendants are not acquitted, Mohamed Kamal, of the group's political office, announced Sunday.

"We see the entire case as political as there are no legal basis to the charges," he added.

Escalation, according to Kamal, would include organising several protests to denounce what he described as the return of the oppressive state.

In previous sessions of the trial, prosecutors asked the court to issue the maximum possible sentence for the defendants, stating that Douma asked members of the 6 April Youth Movement to stop protesting when violence occurred. According to prosecutors, this is evidence that Douma was the one who called for the protests.

Prosecutors also stated that the defendants do not respect the law. Rather, they said, the defendants feel that they are above the law, as they could have objected to the new protest law through the proper legal channels.

Activists Ahmed Douma and Ahmed Maher were arrested for allegedly assaulting policemen at an "illegal" protest outside a Cairo court where Maher was turning himself in to authorities, answering an arrest warrant. They have remained in custody despite a release order issued earlier.

Adel remained at large, despite a warrant for his arrest, until Thursday when security forces stormed the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) where he works as a volunteer and arrested him in the process.

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