A heated debate in the “Cabinet Clashes” trial ended with the judge storming out of the courtroom and the defence lawyer referred to the Maadi prosecution for investigation.
Defence lawyer Khalid Ali asked Judge Nagy Shehata to record in the case that his clients had been “assaulted” by police forces and “unjustly detained”.
Ali’s office said the judge declined to include statements he made during the session in the hearing minutes. The judge had rhetorically asked if police forces should stand by idly and do nothing while people light fires. Ali accused the judge of having a predetermined position against his clients, at which point Shehata walked out of the session while Ali was still pleading his case.
After the session, Shehata referred Ali to the Maadi prosecution for investigation. The cabinet clashes case was thus postponed to 22 November.
Ali’s office announced that he will present a complaint on Thursday to the prosecutor general detailing what took place during the trial.
According to Ali’s office, the judge refused several demands made by the defence team, including the incorporation of copies of documents to the case file. These include investigations by military prosecution, and investigations into the killing and injuring of protesters during the cabinet clashes.
During Wednesday’s session, Ali noted that the defence had previously requested to include allegations of assault and unjust detention in the court case, to no avail. Ali also told the judge that the case was not complete, as the court did not allow the defence to bring forth the witnesses. He also said that the court did not display videos used as evidence against the defendants, or allow the defence lawyers to view them.
Ali was a presidential candidate in the 2012 elections. He is a lawyer and the former head of the ECESR. He is also the co-founder of the Front for Defending Egypt’s Protesters and the Hisham Mubarak Law Center.
Shehata, who is also presiding over the Muslim Brotherhood Operations Room case, had previously referred lawyer and activist Ragia Omran to prosecution on 5 November. She was found not guilty of disrupting a trial during a court session.
The judge had previously requested Omran’s referral to prosecution for disrupting another court session, but she was not interrogated.
The December 2011 cabinet clashes occurred after demonstrators organised a sit-in at the cabinet headquarters protesting the appointment of Kamal El-Ganzoury as prime minister by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF). The military police attempted to disperse the sit-in, resulting in deadly violence which lasted for four days.
The case involves political activist Ahmed Douma, along with 268 other defendants. All defendants are facing charges of attacking the cabinet building and security personnel as well as burning the Scientific Institute in Cairo in 2011. Douma was allegedly one of the organisers of the sit-in, although he said that he was not present in the area when the violence started.
The appeal for Douma, who was sentenced to three years in the Abdeen case, was postponed on Wednesday to 26 November as he will be present at another session for the cabinet clashes case.
Douma was sentenced on 22 December to three years’ hard labour and fined EGP 50,000. He was sentenced alongside Ahmed Maher, co-founder of the 6 April Youth Movement, and Mohamed Adel, a co-founder and member of 6 April’s political bureau.
They were convicted of violating the Protest Law, rioting, “thuggery”, using violence against Abdeen Courthouse security personnel and possessing melee weapons.
The incidents date back to 30 November when protesters gathered in front of Abdeen Courthouse chanting against the Protest Law and calling for the release of the Shura Council detainees. The protest, titled “Turn yourself in”, was organised by the Revolutionary Front before the release of 23 Shura Council detainees on 4 December.
Clashes broke out after a fight was triggered when Maher was assaulted near the main gate of the courthouse upon his arrival.