Court Refuses to Replace Judge Overseeing “Cabinet Clashes” Case

The Cairo Court of Appeals turned down on Wednesday a request to refer the “cabinet clashes” case to a different bench.

Political activist and blogger Ahmed Douma is being tried alongside 268 others over taking part in the “cabinet clashes” which occurred in December 2011.

The court ordered Douma to pay a thousand Egyptian-pound fine.

Mahmoud Belal, among the defence team, said the defence filed a case arguing that the judge “is not fit” to rule on the case due to “making his political stances public while in session and refusing the defence team’s requests.”

The case will be considered by a special judicial circuit on Oct 1. The judge will be dismissed from the “cabinet clashes” trial should the case be accepted.

Douma, detained since December, started a hunger strike on August 28 to protest his imprisonment. Douma’s lawyer had said his client lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time.

Osama al-Mahdy, Douma’s lawyer, had earlier told Aswat Masriya the request to change the bench was made due to the bench’s “obstinacy” in meeting the defence team’s requests.

The defendants are charged with illegal assembly, possession of bladed weapons and Molotov cocktails, assaulting army and police personnel and attacking governmental institutions in December 2011 during the “cabinet clashes”.

Clashes broke out between protesters and security forces outside the cabinet headquarters in December 2011, leaving at least three people dead and 255 wounded.

The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) recommended medical supervision at an external hospital for Douma and other hunger-striking prisoners earlier this month.

Douma’s wife filed a report to the prosecutor-general against the interior minister and his deputy for prison affairs for their tenacity in the matter of transferring Douma to the hospital after his health condition worsened.

Hunger strikes have lately become a common tool to protest detention, used by those arrested for political reasons.

Source : Aswat Masriya