Prominent activist Ahmed Douma, 6 April Youth movement founder Ahmed Maher and the movement’s political bureau member Mohamed Adel were each handed a three year sentence with hard labour and obliged to pay an EGP 50,000 fine. The defendants will also be under surveillance for three years after their release.
Abdeen Misdemeanour Court issued its verdict on Sunday during its session held in the Non-commissioned Police Officers Institute in Tora. The trio was found guilty of rioting, “thuggery”, using violence against Abdeen Courthouse security personnel, possession of rocks, which were considered by the court as melee weapons according to Fahmy, and protesting without the Ministry of Interior’s approval.
The incidents date back to 30 November when protesters gathered in front of the Abdeen Courthouse chanting against the Protest Law and calling for the release of the later-released “Shura Council detainees”.
Clashes broke out after a fight was triggered when Maher was assaulted near the main gate of the courthouse upon arrival.
Maher arrived with the intent of turning himself in for charges regarding his alleged participation in organising the Shura Council protest on 26 November, which he had denied and was subsequently released. However, the prosecution decided on 2 November to detain him for four days pending investigations regarding the Abdeen clashes.
Ahmed Douma was arrested on the morning of 3 December at his house in the Dar Al-Salam district and was taken to Al-Basateen Police Station, then to Zeinhom Court, where he was being investigated.
Adel was arrested on Wednesday evening during the raid on the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).
Maher’s lawyer and defence team member Nour Al-Din Fahmy said that they will appeal the verdict.
Fahmy added that the verdict of imprisonment is the maximum a defendant can be handed in a misdemeanour court; the fine concerns the total of all four charges.
Defence team member Ahmed Abdallah said in a press conference, which was held by 6 April movement Sunday afternoon in reaction to the verdict, that witness testimonies were conflicting, adding that “the verdict includes political implications; it is a verdict on 25 January Revolution”.
Abdallah affirmed that the defence team will appeal the verdict, adding that they submitted a plea to the court that the Protest Law is unconstitutional.
“Over the course of the past few months, the regime diverted from the roadmap and re-used the practices of former regimes; this is becoming clear after the activists’ verdict,” according to 6 April political bureau member Mohamed Kamal.
Kamal said that the interior ministry is “exacting revenge on the 25 January Revolution activists”, adding that “the current regime came to power through protests”.
The political bureau member also said that the Protest Law is “unjust” and that “the system of justice is now being used as a tool for revenge”.
6 April general coordinator Amr Ali said that the current phase represents a “coup” against the 25 January Revolution, adding that the regime transformed the roadmap to “a group of procedural dates, which is now useless because of the regime’s practices”.
Ali added that the movement is currently in favour of voting against the draft constitution, although an official position had not been announced by them: “We cannot trust a constitution which makes political compromises for the armed forces,” he said.
Ali also announced that the movement will call for protests on 25 January 2014 demanding the regime to “stop its current practices or leave”.
Ali denied any coordination with the Muslim Brotherhood: “We will not affiliate with any regime we had earlier toppled”.
The movement’s general coordinator asked “the icons of the 25 January Revolution in the government to resign” and not to “succumb to the interior ministry’s extortion sponsored by SCAF” in addition to demanding the immediate release of all political detainees.
Ali announced that a march will be held on Monday, assembling in front of Opera House before heading to the Shura Council, to denounce the Protest Law, demand the release of the detainees and implore the regime to return to “the correct path”. The protest will not ask for approval from the interior ministry.